Jackhammer brings public awareness to decades long encroachment dispute

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Safe Haven Realty CalBRE# 01433049


fence through carport


Well, here is something you don't see every day. A home owner in Santa Rosa is fed up with the City for not requiring the removal of a carport that was built without permits. The biggest issue at hand, says the home owner, is that the carport was built across his property line, reducing the size of his yard by 200 square feet.

After more than 40 years and multiple owners, the current home owner saw an opportunity when Bank of America foreclosed on the offending structure. He rented a jackhammer and made 15 holes in the asphalt, installed metal stakes and ran wire from the sidewalk to the back of the carport.

The home owner has spent over $30,000 fighting this problem, he has had enough. I don't blame him. If a City is not going to intervene when a neighbor builds an unpermitted structure on your property, then they are sending a clear message that we don't have something called "property rights".

This dispute should have been handled 4 decades ago. This property should never have been allowed to sell in previous years with the existence of known violations. I'm hoping the City of Santa Rosa does the right thing and forces Bank of America to remove or reduce the size of the carport.

This story should be a huge warning to home buyers everywhere. Do NOT buy a home with unpermitted additions. You will be inheriting any problems that surface in the future as if it was YOU who did the illegal work. Unpermitted work can be made legal, given enough money and possibly some upgrades to bring any additions up to today's building codes. This, however, is a situation that must be dealt with PRIOR to closing.

 

 fenced in

 

Posted by

Cynthia Larsen is the owner and broker of record for Safe Haven Realty and has worked and lived in Sonoma County for over 25 years. For more information about Sonoma County, check out the communities of Bodega Bay - Cotati - Rohnert Park - Santa Rosa - Windsor.

 

To view all available homes for sale in Sonoma County and individual communities, please visit Sonoma County Homes For Sale Online!

 

 

Cynthia Larsen
Broker/Owner - Safe Haven Realty

Sonoma County, California, USA
(707) 332-2560

www.cynthialarsen.com


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Topic:
Home Buying
Location:
California Sonoma County Santa Rosa
Groups:
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"Whacked"!!!
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Tags:
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Comments 15 New Comment

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Rainmaker
127,313
Faye Taylor
Faye Taylor

Wow is all I can say.  Wonder how wide the setback is?    Looks like the entire addition needs to go or at least half of it.

 

What do you think the Realtors and the buyers think when they see this?   Knowing some buyers and Realtors it may be nothing.

The guy needs to put a sign on the fence saying this is my property line. 

November 01, 2011 03:04 PM
Ambassador
1,437,118
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com

So does the bank just need to buy the encroached property from him to make it okay?

November 01, 2011 03:10 PM
Rainmaker
532,442
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

Faye - this is a 2 car wide carport. I'm not sure what the setback is, but at least half this structure would need to go. Maybe they could make it a tandem carport? This will turn off all buyers, I really feel for the listing agent because he is a good guy. I agree ... a sign would be good.

BLiz - the encroached upon owner doesn't want to sell the property. The carport owner tried to sue for an easement but lost, they were slapped with a $45K fine, yet here the carport still sits.

November 01, 2011 03:12 PM
Rainmaker
266,729
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty

I feel for the agent and the "encroached upon" owner next door. When I first read this article I thought he was doing a smart thing by making sure new owners understood they had a structure in violation of the code. 

November 01, 2011 03:14 PM
Rainmaker
532,442
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

Dave - If I were the listing agent I would have my head in my hands right now. I think this is a REALLY clear message to potential buyers. And since this is happening on one of the most expensive streets in Santa Rosa, it is sending a clear message to City Hall as well.

November 01, 2011 03:19 PM
Ambassador
1,110,055
Dick Greenberg
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate
New Paradigm Partners LLC

Hi Cynthia - It's amazing that this issue has been around for 40 years without a resolution - it seems pretty clear who the bad guy is, as well as that the owner seems to have wasted $30k on ineffective legal representation and that the property never should have closed in previous sales with an issue like that. Please post how this turns out if you can. Thanks.

November 01, 2011 03:34 PM
Rainmaker
171,570
Marti Steele Kilby
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA
Steele Group Realty

Boy!  I agree with Dick!  I can't imagine how this property has changed hands so many times without this becoming a title insurance issue that would have stopped any lender in their tracks.

November 01, 2011 04:10 PM
Rainmaker
1,248,075
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time

Holy Double Dose . . . battling BofA AND a governmental (emphasis on the MENTAL part of that word) and it's a real double dose of annoyance.  Wonder what happened 40 years ago to have this encroachment to begin with.

November 01, 2011 04:58 PM
Rainmaker
532,442
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

Dick - according to the local paper, there are letters that date back to 1970 asking the offender to remove the carport.

Marti - I guess there was never any type of lien or lis pendens filed? The owner who erected the carport in the late 60's died just a little while back and had still owned the house all those years.The property changed hands once, this will be the second time.

Carla - I'm not sure the guy who built the carport knew that he was encroaching. Permits is whole other issue, he built many additions without permits.

November 01, 2011 07:08 PM
Rainmaker
598,820
Donne Knudsen
CalState Realty Services
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA

Cynthia - OY VEY!!!  I too can not believe that the City of Santa Rosa has allowed this to go on for as long as it has.  Has the owner whose property was encroached ever tried to file suit against the city for their involvement of allowing the former owner to encroach the other owners property?

November 01, 2011 10:40 PM
Rainmaker
245,115
John M. Scott
Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area
BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties

This is just incredible Cynthia. Why would the city allow this for so long when it is so clear. 

November 01, 2011 11:46 PM
Ambassador
1,137,629
Paul Henderson
I always put my clients first in any transaction!
RE/MAX Professionals.

I love it, now that is a great story of Americana. The homeowners answer to boycott Wall Street! 

November 02, 2011 10:08 AM
Rainmaker
532,442
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

Donne - I'm not sure, but there is a hearing the middle of this month. B of A has been encouraged to attend since they are the new owner of the home with the numerous violations. I have a feeling it will be sorted out soon, now that this story landed on the front page of our local newspaper. This street is one of the most expensive in Santa Rosa and is also a historical district. Oops.

John - I'm not sure how hard this fight has been fought until now. The jackhammer incident brought this to light ... who knew??

Paul - I'm loving it too. Enough is enough.

November 02, 2011 12:26 PM
Rainer
69,681
Forest Tardibuono
Sun Pacific Mortgage & Real Estate

Wow is right! It's like the real life version of sitcom problems "You're tree is dropping leaves on my property!". I cannot believe that this problem has persisted to this length of time, that's insane. Props to the neighbor for attempting to handle the unpermitted structure. What's a home owner to do?

November 09, 2011 02:43 PM
Rainmaker
532,442
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

Sun Pacific - Isn't this wild?

November 09, 2011 07:37 PM
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Rainmaker
532,442

Cynthia Larsen

Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
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