The number of schemes out there that seek to part us from our hard earned money continues to amaze me. 

Last month, the Manatee County Clerk’s Office issued a warning about a "Property Deed Solicitation Letter".   Some homeowners in Manatee County, including the Clerk of Court himself, received letters from companies offering to sell them a certified copy of their deed for prices ranging from $50 to $100 per deed.  Apparently, these letters periodically appear in that county and are often concentrated in a specific zip code or neighborhood with neighbors often receiving these letters at the same time.

As Manatee County’s Clerk stated in his news release, any home owner’s deed is a public record and is permanently maintained in the clerk’s office of the county where that home or unit is located.   You do not have to pay a fee to a private company for a copy.  

In Manatee County, any homeowner or unit owner can view and print–at no charge–a non-certified copy of the deed or assignment or memorandum of proprietary lease from the Manatee County website.   Many other, if not most counties, in Florida, offer the same service.   Residents in counties where this service is not provided merely need to make a trip to their County Clerk’s office a pay a few dollars to obtain a copy of their deed, assignment, or memorandum.

It’s very rare that a homeowner or unit owner will need either a regular or certified copy of a deed or other document showing ownership of a home or unit–and the cost of obtaining either type of copy should not exceed more than $5 dollars per page.

In the words of Manatee’s Clerk of Courts: "While there does not appear to be anything illegal about this offering, it is a totally unnecessary expense for a homeowner to incur."

Thanks to the Manatee County Clerk’s Office for its warning and to one of our legal assistants, Karen Midlam, for bringing the news release to my attention.

And if any of my  readers receive any of these types of letters, please let me know and I’ll spread the word on this blog.