UNITED STATES NEWS

A $500K house was built on the wrong Hawaii lot. A legal fight is unfolding over the mix-up

Mar 27, 2024, 6:10 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — A woman who purchased a vacant lot in Hawaii was surprised to find out a $500,000 house was built on the property by mistake.

She’s now mired in legal wrangling over the mix-up.

Annaleine “Anne” Reynolds purchased a one-acre (0.40-hectare) lot in Hawaiian Paradise Park, a subdivision in the Big Island’s Puna district, in 2018 at a county tax auction for about $22,500.

She was in California during the pandemic waiting for the right time to use it when she got a call last year from a real estate broker who informed her he sold the house on her property, Hawaii News Now reported.

Local developer Keaau Development Partnership hired PJ’s Construction to build about a dozen homes on the properties the developer bought in the subdivision. But the company built one on Reynolds’ lot.

Reynolds, along with the construction company, the architect and others, are now being sued by the developer.

“There’s a lot of fingers being pointed between the developer and the contractor and some subs,” Reynolds’ attorney James DiPasquale said.

Reynolds rejected the developer’s offer for a neighboring lot of equal size and value, according to court documents.

“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,” DiPasquale said.

Most of the lots in jungle-like Hawaiian Paradise Park are identical, noted Peter Olson, an attorney representing the developer.

“My client believes she’s trying to exploit PJ Construction’s mistake in order to get money from my client and the other parties,” Olson told The Associated Press Wednesday of her rejecting an offer for an identical lot.

She has filed a counterclaim against the developer, saying she was unaware of the “unauthorized construction.”

An attorney for PJ’s Construction told Hawaii News Now the developer didn’t want to hire surveyors.

A neighbor told the Honolulu news station the empty house has attracted squatters.

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A $500K house was built on the wrong Hawaii lot. A legal fight is unfolding over the mix-up