Public Lands | Administrative Rules


VI. The Patent Process

A. Applications to purchase, once accepted by the Secretary of State as complete, shall remain on file at least thirty (30) days before same are finally approved or disapproved. Miss. Code Ann. ยง 29-1-37.



B. During the thirty (30) day waiting period, the Secretary of State shall ascertain the estimated fair market value of the land, using either the first or both of the following methods.

1. The Secretary of State shall request the county tax assessor to certify in writing as to the most recent true value of the land and any improvements thereon, to the best of his information and belief.

2. The Secretary of State may obtain an appraisal report of the real estate from a real estate appraiser chosen by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, in selecting a licensed real estate appraiser, shall give preference to residents of the county in which the property is situated.



C. During the thirty (30) day waiting period, the Secretary of State shall make reasonable efforts to locate and notify record owners at the time the property was forfeited to the state that application to purchase the property has been made.



D. If an application to purchase is received from the former owner, his heirs, executors or administrators, or the mortgagee, and is found to be valid, that applicant takes priority.



E. If no such application to purchase as described in Section D immediately preceding or transfer request in Section IV is received by the Secretary of State, the property will be priced to the applicant.



F. The purchase price of the land shall be determined, using as a guideline the value of the land as established pursuant to Rule VI B., and the goal of obtaining optimal price for the land.



G. Every reasonable consideration must be given to obtain optimal price for the land when it is sold to a purchaser in the application process who is not a state agency, county, municipality or political subdivision of the state. McCullen v. Tate. A price of 25% of estimated fair market value shall be available to persons eligible for a special patent but who cannot show that nonpayment of taxes was unintentional.



H. The minimum price of property sold to an applicant other than a state agency, county, municipality or political subdivision of the state, under a regular patent (except as set forth in VI G. above) shall be fifty percent (50%) of its estimated fair market value.

1. Property valued at $250.00 or less shall be priced at one hundred percent (100%) of its estimated market value and the total amount of delinquent taxes and fees, including damages and costs.

2. Where lands have situated thereon buildings or personal property which are deteriorating, such "blighted properties" may be sold for any consideration the Secretary of State may deem reasonable, irrespective of the amount of taxes for which such land was sold. Lands shall be designated as blighted property when the Secretary of State's field inspection confirms a complaint that the property is in a deteriorated or impaired condition and presents a hazard to public health, safety or welfare.



I. Except as set forth in H.2 above, the purchase price shall never be less than the total amount of delinquent taxes and fees, including damages and costs. If the municipality or county within which the property is located has reported to the Secretary of State costs incurred in maintaining lands, the amount of said maintenance costs shall be collected from the purchaser and reimbursed to the county or municipality from the purchase money. In no event shall the maintenance costs allowed the county or municipality exceed the purchase money received from the sale of the lands.



J. The applicant shall be offered the property at the price determined by the Secretary of State pursuant to these rules, or at the highest price offered by any applicant, whichever is greater. However, transfers to any other state agency, county, municipality or political subdivision of the state are not subject to this requirement.

1. A written offer to sell at the price determined by the Secretary of State shall be forwarded to the first applicant, with instructions to remit payment in full within fifteen (15) days of said offer.

a. An extension may be granted in the discretion of the Secretary of State, but in no event shall extensions be granted beyond six (6) months of the initial offer date.

(i) If an application is canceled for failure to remit purchase price, applicant may re-file no more than three (3) times, but subsequent applications shall not qualify for priority pursuant to rule VI D.

2. If the applicant refuses to buy at the price offered, the land will be offered to subsequent applicants in the order in which the applications were received.

3. If the first offer is not accepted, offer shall be made to the second applicant based on information available at the time the offer is made to that second applicant. Thus a higher buying price offered by an applicant subsequent to the Secretary of State's first offer to sell will result in the property being offered by the Secretary of State at that higher price to the second applicant. This rule shall apply consecutively as applications are accepted.


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