Resident alleges developer built home on her property

Tom Abrahams Image
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
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A homeowner place a sign because a developer bought the empty lot adjacent to the one her family has owned for 30 years.

HOUSTON, Texas -- In the 500 block of East 40 Street in the Independence Heights neighborhood of Houston, there is a large, hand-painted sign intended to catch people's attention.

It reads, "Do not buy house. It is on stolen property. You are at risk." And there's a story behind it that has two landowners locked in a bitter disagreement.

Brenda Rodriguez put it there because a developer bought the empty lot adjacent to the one her family has owned for 30 years. The developer built a home. Rodriguez says that home is 12 feet into her property.

"This has been very frustrating," she said. "It's horrible for us really."

She even showed Eyewitness News surveys of the land before and after the home was built showing the property lines.

"We want them (the developer) to come out and look at our survey compared to their survey," she said. "But they never did. They just continued to build, build, build."

Eyewitness News spoke to the company's owner and realtor on Monday. They told us on the phone they haven't done anything wrong and followed all of the city's building regulations. After considering an interview they sent us this statement:

"Our legal team is in the process of pursuing legal action regarding the harassment by the neighboring property owner. We have been advised to have no further comment on this matter."

We did find at the Harris County Appraisal District parcel maps which appear to show the developer is in the right. It even shows a shed belonging to Rodriguez was partially on the neighboring property. It's been moved.

But the city of Houston, which did issue the building permits for the new construction, is now investigating the issue. We know Code Enforcement is checking surveys from both sides to determine which one is right. One city staffer says this isn't the first time boundary disputes have happened in older parts of Houston.

"We just want what's ours," she said.

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