Cape Land Claims Raise Suspicion

Agent defends use of adverse possession law

You know it is tough to find a good deal on a lot in Cape Coral when a local Realtor, Raul O. Mendez Jr., pays over $8998 of his own money in back taxes on lots that he doesn't own. In fact these lots are owned by the deceased.

And while Mendez denies it, Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson suspects he may be trying to use Florida's adverse possession law in a way it was not intended to grab land in Southwest Florida's booming real estate market. On each of the properties in question, Mendez filed an Affidavit of Intent to Adverse Possession with Lee County. In these filings Mendez requested that the address of notice be changed from that of the deceased owner to his address.

Although I am not a lawyer, the Florida 2004 Statutes Chapter 95 Section 18 clearly states that in order to claim adverse possession, the property needs to have had continued occupation for seven years and further it has been protected by substantial enclosure and it has been usually cultivated or improved. Hard to see how Mendez is going to be successful using adverse possession to claim lots that have not been in his possession for seven years, are not enclosed or improved.

I am sure the living heirs of these property owners are appreciative of his tax gift, now if I can only get Mendez to pay my taxes.

Cape land claims raise suspicion [News-Press]

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