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Beware letters attempting to secure payments for services

April 6, 2018
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dear Mr. Feichthaler,

My husband and I recently purchased a condominium in Cape Coral, and we are so happy to be rid of the Michigan winters! A few weeks after purchase, we received a letter in the mail saying I need to order a copy of my deed and property assessment profile for $86, and it gave a short deadline. I have attached this letter for your review. I thought I had a copy of the deed from the law firm that closed my transaction, do I need to send this money?

- Mary R.

Dear Mary,

Congratulations on your decision to relocate to Cape Coral! I expect you will find the city and our people very pleasant now and in the future. One of the unpleasant facts of life is dealing with people who would seek to profit without providing sufficient service in return. From what you have explained above, this is one of those situations.

When you purchased your condo, the deed was recorded in the Lee County Public Records for everyone to see. The people that sent you the letter review new deeds every day, and send buyers like you a very official looking letter with threats of fines and imprisonment on the envelope. That gets a lot of attention! However, what is being offered is not worth $86 in my opinion. First, the firm who closed your transaction will provide you a deed as part of the transaction. Second, the "property assessment" is simply county tax and other information that is easily retrievable, free of charge, at www.leepa.org.

The letter you sent even says the following (in smaller print than the rest of the letter): "You can obtain a copy of your grant deed or other record of title from the county recorder in the county where your property is located for a nominal fee." They are actually acknowledging this information is all available for a much lower cost. In the case of Lee County, there is no cost at all!

Whether buying a new property or starting a new business, one will receive many letters attempting to secure payment for a variety of services. If ever in doubt, check with friends, neighbors or an attorney before sending anyone money due to a solicitation.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for 28 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continued his service to the community through his chairmanship of the Harney Point Kiwanis Club KidsFest from 2011-2015, which provides a free day of fun and learning to thousands of Cape Coral families, and funds numerous scholarships. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 14 years, and they have four children together. Recently, he earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is also a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.

 
 
 

 

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