A Lakeside Estates Home Now Worth Its Weight in Water

A LAKESIDE ESTATES HOME NOW WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN WATER Before the Army Corps of Engineers straightened the section of Buffalo Bayou between Hwy. 6 and Beltway 8 in the mid 1960s, the cul-de-sac at the end of Riverview Dr. in Lakeside Estates wasn’t just near the waterway, it was in it. But the “view” and “side” in the names the subdivision’s developers later attached to the property east of Wilcrest Dr. as they built on it didn’t hold: “When [Allen] Wuescher says he had 17 feet of water inside his house, it’s one of those things you have to see to believe. It is the fifth time in 26 months that his house flooded, and the third time his entire first story was destroyed by water deep enough for a diving board,” writes Meagan Flynn. “Since the home was built in 1979, homeowners at this address have recouped more than $850,000 in flood damage losses through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, at this point making the home more expensive to taxpayers just to exist than for the government to buy it and destroy it. It was appraised at $825,000 by the Harris County Appraisal District. The FEMA flood insurance loss payments so far don’t even include the extraordinary damage wrought by Harvey. And when we enter the home through Wuescher’s garage — which looks like a scene out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but with the lights on and with mold instead of blood — it’s immediately clear that the house really is not a house anymore.” [Houston Press] Photo of 10807 River View Dr. living room: Realtor.com  

8 Comment

  • Not talking about this house specifically but there was such an ENORMOUS amount of fraud when it came to FEMA and other groups helping people.
    Word got out that there was ‘free money’ to be had. We had tenants break their lease to take advantage of the free housing given by FEMA. Why pay rent when with no questions asked they’ll put you up in a hotel?. To top it off, once the shelters closed and the plug was pulled on the free hotels, FEMA gave everyone ~$2k+ to get a new place. One of those people who left to get a free place came back with FEMA money. Some of them took the money and vanished.
    I’m all for helping people that lost their house to help them get back on their feet but even the smallest amount of due diligence would have uncovered a massive amount of people who are just working the system.

  • I was my understanding you can only claim flood insurance 3 times before that property is considered a “repetitive loss” and ineligible for any future coverage? https://www.fema.gov/txt/rebuild/repetitive_loss_faqs.txt

  • Don’t let the facts get in the way of a juicy story…

  • The above link states that if mitigation measures are put into place then a property can be removed from the ‘target’ list of homes which are deemed not covered for future losses. Could be this property added drainage or raised the property surrounds, whatever allowed the over-taxed underwriters working for FEMA to check a box. Also just because a regulation is put on paper, it doesn’t stop it from happening anyway.

    How to best address this specific situation?? Past payments already exceed the value of the property. Buying the guy out at FMV would then cost taxpayers double what the property is worth but needs to be done. I feel that the FEMA rules regarding TWO floods, which in aggregate, exceed the value of the home is way too high. What’s a fair answer?

  • @Cody – You might be careful with the tenant that came back. If their place was not impacted and you know they are committing fraud, you’d hate to be held as complicit.

    As for the three claims, if you can keep getting insurance it seems like you can keep making claims. John Oliver had a very good bit the other night about floods and flood insurance. Worth watching, though not a surprise to folks in the gulf coast.

  • @Cody — don’t the tenants you describe get reported for walking their lease? Won’t that make it harder for them to find another apartment after their FEMA vacation (at lease with another HAA member)?

  • Skeptic: SUre, we report broken leases. But do you know how many small owners don’t check those things? Not everyone checks criminal history, rental history, and credit. Tons of small owners will take anyone that has a few bucks to move in. They figure if they flake, they’ll evict them and rinse/wash/repeat.

  • MH005: Hell no we didn’t take them back. I was so disgusted by the whole process that it was hard to take anyone that I knew didn’t really lose their place but rather was just taking advantage of free money.