State of Florida
The State of Florida owns and oversees management of approximately 3.8 million acres of uplands (which includes 500,000 acres of conservation easements). Most of the land is actively used by state agencies for recreation or conservation purposes, which are protected by the Florida Constitution in perpetuity.
A small percentage of lands are available as surplus, most of which are Murphy Act Lands, small parcels of land scattered across Florida. These surplus parcels consist of small parcels that the state acquired as a result of the Murphy Act. The Murphy Act provided for statutory forfeiture of lands for nonpayment of taxes. Tax certificates unredeemed as of June 9, 1939, were automatically converted to fee simple title in the name of the state. Most of the Murphy Act parcels have already been sold or are managed for conservation or other uses.
Before a building or parcel of land is offered for lease or sale to a local or federal unit of government or a private party, it shall first be offered for lease to state agencies, state universities and the Florida College System institutions, with priority consideration given to state universities and Florida College System institutions.
Division of State Lands staff is constantly working to evaluate potential surplus property. New tracking and mapping programs will help expedite and improve the process. This will make small parcels of land, which are scattered throughout the state, available to counties and the general public. When sold to private entities, these parcels are put on county tax rolls, generating tax dollars for local governments.
These transactions are processed by DEP's Division of State Lands Bureau of Real Estate Services' Disposition section.