‘Your house is on my property.’ Household’s home, utilities constructed on improper lot

SMITHVILLE, Texas (KXAN) – Jacqueline and Ron Howard’s life modified in 2018 after they got the chance to develop into property house owners.

They stated for almost 40 years a detailed pal owned two neighboring plots of land off a distant gravel street in rural Smithville and had provided to promote them the tons for $500.

It was a chance they couldn’t flip down.

“That is the place we had been going to construct our without end house,” Jacqueline Howard stated.

Shortly after finalizing the acquisition of their new land in 2018, the Howards started working with Titan Manufacturing facility Direct Houses, the place they’d finally purchase their manufactured house.

Picture of undeveloped land instantly subsequent to the Howards’ home displaying the quantity of timber and vegetation the Howards cleared. That is additionally the precise property the Howards personal. (KXAN Picture/Dalton Huey)

For the subsequent two years, till their mortgage was accredited, the Howards say they spent weekends tenting on their land whereas they labored tirelessly to clear timber, brush and thick vegetation in preparation for the place they’d ultimately have a home. 

“There was nothing on the market — no electrical energy, no water — simply God’s nation,” Ron Howard stated.  

They bought their new house from Titan Manufacturing facility Direct in July 2020 and filed all the required paperwork with Bastrop County to begin the subsequent steps, in keeping with Bastrop County information.

Step one was to have a land survey carried out. Data KXAN obtained confirmed the survey was accomplished in August 2020 and was supplied to the Howards, in addition to Titan Manufacturing facility Direct and its contractors.

Over the subsequent three months, Bastrop County accredited the constructing permits for the house. The native water utility accredited a brand new water meter and septic system and the electrical utility accredited the set up of {an electrical} pole on the distant location.

The Howards’ house was put in in November 2020, and the household was in a position to begin the subsequent chapter of their lives — one house enchancment mission at a time.

‘Without end house’ no extra

That chapter got here to an abrupt halt 9 months into residing of their “without end house,” when a person they stated that they had by no means met knocked on their door.

“Your house is on my property,” the person informed the Howards.

When questioning the person, the Howards stated he confirmed them a Bastrop County Central Appraisal District (CAD) map, indicating the 2 plots of land they owned had been really subsequent to the place their home was constructed.

The Howards house, water, utilities and septic had been all placed on the improper property.

KXAN spoke with the person, who confirmed the occasions the Howards described and requested that his title not be used.

To make issues worse, the couple stated the person knowledgeable them that their house crossed a second property line owned by another person.

Placement of the house

Scared and feeling like they didn’t know the place to show, the Howards reached out to KXAN.

Map of lot locations owned versus lots currently locatedBastrop County CAD map with inexperienced highlighted part illustrating the situation and lot numbers of the plots the Howards personal, in comparison with the pink highlighted part displaying the present location of the Howards’ house. (KXAN Graphic)

KXAN obtained information filed with Bastrop County, the Manufactured Housing Division of the Texas Division of Housing and Neighborhood Affairs (TDHCA), in addition to the land survey that was carried out on the property.

These information, together with the land survey, present the Howards personal tons 283 and 284, however their house is at the moment on tons 281 and 282.

Jacqueline Howard informed KXAN she visited the property with the earlier proprietor three years in the past and was proven the lot the place the house was ultimately constructed. KXAN spoke to the earlier proprietor listed on deed information. She confirmed that account and added she by no means knew it was the improper property.

Two years later, in August 2020, a land survey was accomplished with a view to transfer ahead with improvement. Based on the Howards, nobody apart from the surveyor was current on the time it was carried out. The survey highlighted the correct plots of land, but every little thing continued to be constructed and put in on the improper property.

Who’s accountable?

KXAN reached out to TDHCA’s Manufactured Housing Division, the state company answerable for regulating the manufactured housing business in Texas, to seek out out if such a state of affairs falls beneath its jurisdiction.

TDHCA’s lawyer stated the company “…lacks any jurisdiction over this subject” and it can not “regulate the position of a manufactured house.”

“I’m afraid there isn’t something in our regulation that requires the installer to crosscheck any deeds or property information,” wrote Amy Jones, TDHCA’s common counsel. “In reality, manufactured houses are sometimes put in on property not owned by the house owner, i.e. leased property.”

KXAN reached out to Bluebonnet Electrical and Aqua Water Provide, the businesses that put in utility providers on the property, in addition to Bastrop County Improvement Companies and Titan Manufacturing facility Direct.

Based on Bluebonnet Electrical’s web site, the method for putting in electrical service could require a deed of landownership for easement. Within the Howards’ case, a brand new easement was not required and subsequently a deed of landownership wasn’t crucial to put in electrical energy. KXAN spoke with Will Holford, a spokesman for Bluebonnet Electrical, who acknowledged “there was an current easement for electrical strains offering energy to Mohawk Drive. Bluebonnet changed an current pole and put in an electrical meter and safety gentle on the location as requested by our member.”  

Based on Aqua Water Provide’s web site, it requires a survey plat with area notes of the property to begin service. Jacqueline Howard stated Aqua Water Provide obtained the plat survey, which KXAN confirmed by means of easement information filed with Bastrop County. KXAN is at the moment awaiting a response from Aqua Water Provide concerning how the situation of providers is confirmed previous to set up.

Moreover, in keeping with the Bastrop County Improvement Companies utility, proof of possession and a duplicate of a survey or plat are required to start improvement, building or septic set up on the property, however it’s unclear whether or not it has extra procedures to verify the situation of providers previous to set up. KXAN spoke with a consultant from Bastrop County Improvement Companies and is awaiting a response because it seems to be into the matter.

The Howards stated they requested Titan to verify the situation of their land previous to putting in their house and had been reassured the land survey was all they wanted.

When reached by telephone, Titan’s common supervisor informed KXAN they had been working with the property house owners however declined to offer additional feedback.

Way forward for the property

The Howards stated Titan got here to their property final Thursday and confirmed the difficulty however didn’t have a proof for the way this occurred. Based on the Howards, Titan is at the moment working with the precise property house owners to see if buying and selling properties is an possibility, so that they don’t need to uproot their lives.

Within the meantime, the Howards halted house enchancment tasks and hope they’ll stay on the land they’ve spent years bettering.

“We have spent a lot money and time on this land,” Jacqueline Howard stated. “We do not need to transfer.”

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