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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    4

    Unhappy Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sure!!

    L-o-n-g story short...my husband and I are huge savers, but we finally broke down and decided to spend some money on a house that was going to be torn down in our town. While it depleted our savings and also took some additional financing, we decided to go ahead and move forward with this one-time chance as this cute little home that was going to be torn down to make room for some apartments would be a super, cost-effective solution to our problem of needing home office, guest and children's rec spaces. We checked our closing papers on the house to check on restrictions, filed all necessary permits/paperwork with the city, got our clearance and hired a mover to move the house to our 1.5 acre lot. YIIIPPPPEEEE! We were so excited...what a blessing!

    Well, imagine our dismay when 6 days after the house is set on the foundation we had papers delivered to us by our neighbors' attorney. We have now found out that our title company failed to provide us a 3 page document which outlined the 1969 covenants for our neighborhood which states that "no old houses can be brought in". Whhhaaatttt???!! No neighbor ever said anything to us while the house was sitting on the truck and could have been removed before being set (which would have saved us about $20,000) and the neighbors involved in the potential lawsuit would not agree to let us keep our cute little house even knowing what upgrades both inside and our were going to be done. (Ironically...no neighbors that brought forth the potential lawsuit have been to our property or had a conversations with us and a great many of the other neighbors didn't even know the house was on the property until the lawsuit became public because the mover nestled the house just where we wanted it in some trees in the back corner of our yard). Well sadly...in order to not be sued and faced with paying both the neighbor's as well as our court costs with the chance of losing our case, we had to have the mover come back and get our cute little house just 3 months after bringing it in.

    So...here's our huge dilemma - - we are self-employed parents of 4 that drained all of our economic resources to make this house happen, but are now left with an ugly and hazardous stemwall foundation in our back yard (the house was a pier & beam style home). While we can't "bring in an old house", we can re-build from the ground up the same style house which we intend to do since we now have a foundation shaped in a certain way in our yard. Are there some cost-effective ways to build a small (1000 square feet) house on-site? We watch home improvement shows consistently and are big DIY folks, but is a house really something we can tackle on our own?!

    We live in North Texas and so I don't know if this is a help or hinderance with regards to materials, building practices/styles, etc. I have been watching home improvement shows, surfing around the TOH website, etc. trying to see what economic options I have but I'm just not seeing a clear-cut path. Any ideas?!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    First I have to ask, have you talked to an attorney to see if the title companies insurance is responsible to reimburse you for the costs?

    As far as your question goes, I don't know if you can do it or not. I don't know your competency and skill level. I also don't know if you need certified plans to get approval in your jurisdiction.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    I too would start with a skilled attorney to sue the Title company for breach of contract. They were hired to inform you of all the covenants and they did not.

    After that, make a huge HUGE stink in the media to get the nay sayers to shut the __ up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    Hi there --
    Unfortunately, in talking with an attorney it appears that the Title Company can not be sued (that brought on a whole other slew of surprise!), but that is a deadend here where I live. I saw a segment on someone building with hay, but...when I went back to investigate that I couldn't remember what channel I saw that on. I was wanting to see if that is really an more economical or more of just a green building option. I tried to take my story to my local news, but...I am the new kid in town (moved here in Nov. 2010)...the neighbors are all well-established with deep local roots and so, the paper wasn't interested. Bummer! Thank you so much for taking time to reply though...nice to see some caring folks out there

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    Do you still have the cute little house? Could you dismantle it and rebuild in on your site? Would that count as 'new construction'?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    That was our initial thought, but unfortunately...unless we had the house completely removed from the property the neighbors were going to sue us and they gave us a timeframe which kept us from being able to do this as I think they thought we might do just that. We've tried talking to these people, but they won't converse with us directly...only via attorney, so we weren't able to do that. That would have been ideal for sure!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    Time to go viral with some YouTube Videos, Perhaps to the national news as to bypass the locals.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    I think I'd build new guest house that looks just like the one you had to move! Also I'd consider moving myself.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    Hmmm...A YouTube Video I have a teenage son that could probably put something together with ease and that might just be a great summer project for him!! Yes indeed...when we rebuild, it's going to look as much like the original as we are able to do. This is one of those neighborhoods that are known for people having to die before you can move into it...we're just hoping that we can get the house rebuilt before the parties involved end up doing just that as this may take us a few years to get completed. (the man that was the ringleader of this lawsuit is in his 80s, but appears to be in very good health though so we'd love him to see our replacement house!).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: Rebuilding guest house due to neighbors lawsuit ...quite a family project for sur

    You are clearly dealing with bullies here. They cannot give you a timetable, lawsuits take time so you had time on your side in the first place. You should have contacted your title company before you did anything, they may have been able to have stopped the suit in its tracks.

    A covenant does not carry the full weight of the law, it is basically an agreement between homeowners in an area to abide by some rules. Many times these covenants are drawn up by the developer before that area is developed and they are all in the developers best interests. If a covenant is in violation of local, state or federal laws, they are invalid, and many times they are. An example would be not allowing rental or sale of homes to minorities.

    The no houses brought in is generally used to keep out manufactured houses and mobile homes. It is sometimes used to keep out RV's as well. These can bring down property values in the area.

    You need to get a copy of all the covenants for your neighborhood. Since they date back to 1969, chances are there are plenty of violations going on by now. If you can document enough violations that have been going on for a specified period of time, you might be able to have these covenants considered "broken" and therefore unenforceable. Who knows, maybe this bully neighbor has a few violations of their own.

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