An H&M for Katy; Testing the Tracks on the Next Light Rail Lines


Photo of construction of the Susanne, 3803 Dunlavy: Loves Swamplot


16 Comment

  • Looking at Lawrence and 8th on the map search, sure enough, the lots do not match the plats. What should be done in such a situation?

  • RE:Developer fight in the Heights.
    The situation is more complex than seems on the surface…
    Developer was an idiot by not fixing the encroachment issues prior to purchasing the property.
    How in the world did he get a Title Policy on it?
    He did offer to fix the encroachment issue at his expense but the crotchety old people refused.
    They DO have some rights through adverse possession, squatter’s rights, property abandonment by owner etc. because it’s been so many decades.
    The fairest thing would have been for the old people to accept the developer’s offer to move the encroached parts and give them some surely needed upgrades on the house.

  • I agree, the developer was a fool, however he does seem well meaning, hopefully the homeowners will show him some compassion and use him to fix up their dump, it could be a win win—

  • I think the play here is for all five lots to thedead end of the street. My guess is the developer wants to try and pick them off one at a time. Each lot all the way to the dead end appears to violate the platting. Question is, how miserable can the developer make it for the homeowners until they give up and sell? I am sure he’s low-balled them. If this goes to court, given the length of time associated with the property line violations, I would guess the homeowner migh be compelled to compensate him in some way and revise property lines, but would not be compelled to move the house. The developer doesn’t want the property line dispute resolved in court. Too risky for him. He wants the people to give up and sell their home to him*.

    *This is a guess and only a guess. Commenter is not a licensed anything. Comment represents opinion only of barely literate commenter who has had more than his fair share of property boundary disputes with individuals and government entities.

  • Sure, that seems like a guy you could trust to let anywhere near your house.. especially as an elderly person with a presumably very limited fixed income. No sympathy for the developer in this one, complete failure of due diligence.

  • The issue at 730 Lawrence is pretty simple. Assuming the fence has been up for 10 years (the house has obviously been up for decades), they can win legal title to the encroachment on the neighboring tract in a trespass to try title action against the developer. They could also get a few bucks for their fence in the same lawsuit. If the developer thinks that the Reyes’s are not going to be able to do anything because they cannot afford a lawyer, he should take a look at the Houston Volunteer Lawyers’ website. Lots of firms in town would handle this matter pro bono assuming that the Reyes’s have the financial need.

  • What Old School said. This is exactly the kind of situation the doctrine of Adverse Possession was meant to handle. Assuming the elderly couple gets some competent pro-bono representation, this will work out in their favor and they will be granted recorded title to the land in dispute. The developer on the other hand, is only going to get some bad PR and 8′ less lot than he thinks he has out of this deal.

  • They should stop being so hard-headed and let him build them a new home, on their own property.

  • The piece says Petruzzi made them an offer to build them a new house but I didn’t see or hear where he said it would be FREE.

    He said he would move the A/C and hot water heater at his expense.

    Maybe now that the media has brought public attention to the situation, she’ll find a pro bono attorney.

    I just can’t see how any honorable person could treat anyone like he’s treating them. The fact that he said he could cut their house in half if he wanted to is horribly arrogant. And please spare me the “business is business” crap.

    I’m not a religious person but I do believe in treating others in the same manner I’d like to be treated.

  • I will tell you that a trespass to try title is not a slam dunk. Nor is it a quick solution. The property description, surveys, etc. will be the starting point and everything after that open for interprretation and argument. Adverse possession is not a guarantee, or even a likely result. And it will cost thousands, pro-bono or not, to resolve. And then what? What is gained? If the developer won’t sue the homeowner, what’s the point of the homeowner suing the developer? At the end of the day, the suit would be to remove the cloud from the title for a piece of land worth $100K, maybe a little more. It’s very possible that the former homeowner had a long-running dispute with this neighbor over their encroachment and, in that case, adverse possession would not apply. Any pro-bono attorney with any sense is going to recommend a settlement that includes having the developer purchase their home.

  • @OldSchool, it’s actually not that simple. For adverse possession to be establish, the encroachment has to be obvious and intentional. The idea behind the law is if someone purposely and openly takes something of yours and you don’t fight back, then eventually you give up your right to claim it. Case law has shown that it is extremely difficult to establish adverse possession in urban settings because often times, the encroachment isn’t “open and notorious” but rather a misunderstanding of where property lines begin and end.

  • Their encroaching house is crap, we know that. However the developer is a douche and he bought the lot/property with the deed conveying these encroachments. This is a domino effect in this area. He is encroaching on the next house down by 8-10 ft. If he did a tear down he can probably no longer claim the 8-10 ft he was encroaching and is probably scared of losing that land. Hope the developer loses.

  • I wish we were slashing the city’s bloated budget rather than some silly gases.

  • This developer is an A*H for bullying these people, preying on their economic status. Does he legally have the right to ‘cut their house in half’ as he states? And his portfolio isn’t that impressive.

  • @Lawyer Jim: You are right that the standard is more permissive in urban settings. However, that is for minor fence line disputes as it is very easy to put up a fence a few inches on your neighbor’s property without being in “open and notorious” possession of your neighbor’s property. I have defended that kind of fence line battle and prevailed against the party claiming adverse possession. But the property line here (according to the story) has 8 feet of house built over it. And the house has been there since at least 1920. Yes, it is possible to hire a lawyer to throw sand in the gears of justice. But, I cannot think of a good argument that would defeat the AP claim here. If you can’t get AP by building 8 feet worth of house on someone else’s property, how can you?

  • Has everyone looked at the map?

    I think the house in question (the developer’s) is the second house from 8th. The first house has its fence inside the church’s property. If the developer is would cut the third house in half because it’s on his property, I hope he left the entire northern wall of his own house standing, because it belongs to the first house!