Jacksonville woman fighting to save her home from the city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Carolyn Duncan, 69, is trapped in a legal maze of confusion and it has already resulted in the loss of her home.

"The misunderstanding started when Jim Walter built the home," said Duncan.

Jim Walter Homes is now out of business but according to court documents the company built her home in the Royal Terrace subdivision on lot seven, when in fact it was built on lot eight.

"It became a problem about two years ago," she said.

Two years ago is when the city of Jacksonville filed a tax deed against her home, which is on lot 8, for unpaid property taxes. In effect the city now owns her property.

How is this possible when in 2003 her Jim Walter mortgage lien was satisfied on lot seven; In 2004 the City of Jacksonville held a mortgage on the same lot seven to make limited repairs to the house.

Her home is 2156, lot 8, the property next door is 2148 or lot seven. It has been abandoned even so its taxes are paid in full.

Which means her mortgage company has been paying the taxes on that property instead of hers because of the apparent mistake in the original mortgage documents.

"It is a bigger problem now than I had ever imagined," said Duncan.

Duncan hired an attorney to help clear it up but she said it has become a bigger mess.

"The only way that anyone can acquire it is to pay the delinquent taxes," she said.

Fact is if anyone wants to buy it they would have to buy it from the city's real estate division; which is fairly save for her because if a private investor had paid the past due taxes they would have to right to evict her or sell the property from under her.

"It is quite disturbing," said Duncan.

Duncan needs help, the legal maze is getting the best of her. She said she is ready for retirement, and if she can't get this corrected soon she is ready to tell all parties involved they can have lot eight or lot seven.

"You ever want to pack up a and go out of town, just get away," said Duncan. "That is how I feel."

A city official said she will spend the next couple of days reviewing the court records to see if she can untangle the mess.


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