Developer Must Take Down House Built on Wrong Lot

It was a strange mix-up in Hawaii
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2024 6:55 PM CDT
Updated Jun 27, 2024 1:25 PM CDT
New Home Is Accidentally Built on Vacant Lot
   (Getty / Jeff Manes)
UPDATE Jun 27, 2024 1:25 PM CDT

A developer who built a home in Hawaii on the wrong vacant lot has been ordered to take it down, reports SFGate. The mistake set off a series of convoluted legal skirmishes, and the judge cut to the chase: "This was not an instance of minor encroachment, but an entire house was built on Lot 114 instead of Lot 115," reads the court order in favor of lot owner Anne Reynolds. The ruling also tossed the developer's lawsuit against Reynolds.

Mar 28, 2024 6:55 PM CDT

It's not the easiest mistake to correct. It seems a construction company hired by a developer in Honolulu built a home on the wrong vacant lot. The kicker is that the owner of the lot is among those being sued over the mess, reports HawaiiNewsNow. The saga began in 2018 when Annaleine "Anne" Reynolds bought the undeveloped land for about $22,000. She planned to build on it someday, and was surprised to get a call from a real estate agent during the pandemic informing her that he had just sold a three-bedroom house valued at $500,000 that was belatedly discovered to be on her land.

"I'm like, what? Are you kidding me?" she tells the outlet. The home was built by PJ's Construction, which was hired by Keaau Development Partnership, per the AP. Apparently, the lots look similar in the Paradise Park subdivision, and the construction company says the developer didn't want to hire a surveyor. The developer, meanwhile, offered to give Reynolds a different empty lot or to sell her the house at a discounted price. She rejected both ideas.

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"It would set a dangerous precedent, if you could go on to someone else's land, build anything you want, and then sue that individual for the value of it," says her attorney. Now the developer is suing everybody involved, including the construction company, Reynolds, and the county for approving the building permits. Keaau accuses Reynolds of trying to profit from an honest mistake, and she has countersued for "unauthorized construction." (More Honolulu stories.)

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