Less Than Fee Program

Do you own a home and the adjacent vacant lot in unincorporated Monroe County?  

If yes, the County Commission’s Less than Fee Program may be of interest to you.

Photo showing house and adjacent vacant lot

Due to funding shortfalls, the Less Than Fee Program has been suspended.

What is the "Less than Fee" (LTF) Program?

It is a willing seller program that would allow you to retain ownership of the adjacent, vacant lot and use it for legally allowed accessory uses like a pool, open yard, or garage in exchange for selling the right to build a home on that lot in perpetuity.

Why has the County created this Program?

Due to state and federal regulations, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners has a limited number of residential building permits that it can issue to those seeking to build a house on a vacant lot.  In order to eliminate potential residential building rights on vacant land that would otherwise affect our environment, roads, and hurricane evacuation, the County Commission created this voluntary Less than Fee Program to retire building rights. 

The Program is Very Simple

The County’s offer price for the residential building right on the adjacent lot is the current Market Land Value (MLV) as calculated by the Monroe Property Appraiser.  Under the Florida Constitution, the Property Appraiser is independent of the County Commission and is elected by the voters of Monroe County.  

*The County may offer to pay you 100% of the MLV provided that you agree to a deed restriction permanently retiring the right to build a home on your vacant lot. The program is completely voluntary for both parties and is subject to available funding.

The County will prepare all of the documents necessary to finalize the transaction and will record them for you. 

The Willing Seller Process - Four Steps:

  1. Fill out the “Less than Fee” application and submit it to Guerra-Cynthia@monroecounty-fl.gov.
  2. The County’s Planning Department will conduct a preliminary review of your property to determine its eligibility for the program.  
  3. If eligible, the County will send you a standard contract to purchase the building right of your vacant lot. Once you have returned the signed purchase contract, the Monroe County Land Authority will conduct a title search at the County’s expense.
  4. The County Attorney will review and approve all completed documents.  All contracts are subject to final approval by the County Commission at a public meeting. 

Who Pays for What?

  • The County will pay for the costs of the title search and all recording fees.
  • If you have a mortgage or other lien on the lot, you will need to gain your bank or lienholder’s consent.   You may incur some expense in resolving these issues. 
  • You may designate a representative (e.g., attorney, realtor, etc.) as your contact person, though you will be responsible for paying your lawyer or agent. You must provide at least one contact person (it can be you as the owner) in order to make this program move as quickly as possible.
  • The Seller must pay Documentary Tax Stamps based upon the price paid.  This cost will be deducted from your final payment at closing.  

You are not obligated to participate in this program.

Less Than Fee Program Application

Sample Documents

BOCC Resolution About the Program

  1. Cynthia Guerra

    Acquisition Manager, VHBP Fair Housing Coordinator
    Phone: 305-453-8756

  2. Land Authority

    Physical Address
    1200 Truman Avenue
    Suite 207
    Key West, FL 33040

    Phone: 305-295-5180
    Fax: 305-295-5181