In 1947, the Department of Interior relinquished the portion of Santa Rosa Island (Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach) back to Escambia County. Subsequently, in 1956, Escambia County began leasing Navarre Beach to Santa Rosa County for a period 99 years.
Ever since 1947, the beach residents paid no property taxes to the respective counties. This policy changed on March 20, 2014 when the Florida State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that both condo and house owners in Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach were subject to county property taxes. There were several attempts to appeal, but the decision to tax prevailed.
Congress has passed legislation in the House of Representatives and now requires approval by the Senate before the way will be clear for leaseholders in Navarre Beach fee simple title to their property (this would also apply to Pensacola Beach).
Fee simple title would alleviate the apprehension that some prospective buyers have about buying lease property on the beach. While the sale of leasehold property is not an uncommon practice, most properties sold in this country are fee simple, not leasehold. This change will also in some cases make it easier to secure a loan to purchase a property there.