Bastrop County family’s dwelling, utilities built on improper lot

SMITHVILLE, Texas (KXAN) – Jacqueline and Ron Howard’s lifetime improved in 2018 when they had been presented the option to turn out to be residence entrepreneurs.

They claimed for approximately 40 many years a near mate owned two neighboring plots of land off a remote gravel highway in rural Smithville and experienced made available to sell them the a lot for $500.

It was an opportunity they could not change down.

“This is exactly where we had been heading to make our without end household,” Jacqueline Howard explained.

Soon immediately after finalizing the order of their new land in 2018, the Howards started doing work with Titan Factory Immediate Residences, wherever they would in the end purchase their produced dwelling.

Undeveloped Land Purchased by Howards
Impression of undeveloped land promptly subsequent to the Howards’ property displaying the quantity of trees and vegetation the Howards cleared. This is also the precise home the Howards very own. (KXAN Picture/Dalton Huey)

For the up coming two years, until eventually their personal loan was authorized, the Howards say they spent weekends camping on their land although they worked tirelessly to clear trees, brush and thick vegetation in planning for where by they would sooner or later have a house. 

“There was absolutely nothing out there — no electricity, no drinking water — just God’s nation,” Ron Howard explained.  

They ordered their new property from Titan Manufacturing facility Immediate in July 2020 and submitted all the essential paperwork with Bastrop County to start out the next ways, in accordance to Bastrop County documents.

The to start with stage was to have a land study performed. Data KXAN obtained verified the survey was finished in August 2020 and was furnished to the Howards, as nicely as Titan Manufacturing unit Immediate and its contractors.

Above the future 3 months, Bastrop County approved the creating permits for the dwelling. The local water utility permitted a new drinking water meter and septic program and the electrical utility approved the installation of an electrical pole at the remote locale.

The Howards’ dwelling was mounted in November 2020, and the family was in a position to commence the subsequent chapter in their life — one particular property advancement challenge at a time.

‘Forever home’ no a lot more

That chapter came to an abrupt halt 9 months into dwelling in their “forever home” when a male they reported they experienced under no circumstances satisfied knocked on their door.

“Your house is on my property,” the guy informed the Howards.

When questioning the male, the Howards explained he confirmed them a Bastrop County Central Appraisal District (CAD) map, indicating the two plots of land they owned had been actually subsequent to the place their home was designed.

The Howards property, water, utilities and septic had been all place on the completely wrong property.

KXAN spoke with the male, who confirmed the functions the Howards explained and questioned that his name not be applied.

To make matters worse, the pair claimed the gentleman knowledgeable them that their house crossed a second house line owned by another person else.

Placement of the house

Scared and feeling like they didn’t know wherever to turn, the Howards reached out to KXAN.

Map of lot locations owned versus lots currently located
Bastrop County CAD map with inexperienced highlighted segment illustrating the locale and great deal quantities of the plots the Howards own, compared to the red highlighted part demonstrating the recent place of the Howards’ home. (KXAN Graphic)

KXAN acquired documents filed with Bastrop County, the Created Housing Division of the Texas Office of Housing and Group Affairs (TDHCA), as nicely as the land study that was conducted on the property.

These documents, such as the land survey, clearly show the Howards very own tons 283 and 284, but their residence is presently on a lot 281 and 282.

Jacqueline Howard informed KXAN she visited the residence with the previous proprietor 3 several years in the past and was shown the whole lot where by the home was at some point designed. KXAN spoke to the former owner mentioned on deed records. She verified that account and additional she in no way realized it was the incorrect property.

Two yrs later on, in August 2020, a land study was completed in get to transfer ahead with enhancement. According to the Howards, no just one other than the surveyor was existing at the time it was conducted. The survey highlighted the good plots of land, however all the things ongoing to be crafted and put in on the erroneous home.

Who’s dependable?

KXAN reached out to TDHCA’s Created Housing Division, the point out agency accountable for regulating the manufactured housing business in Texas, to uncover out if these a scenario falls underneath its jurisdiction.

TDHCA’s attorney claimed the company “…lacks any jurisdiction more than this issue” and it can’t “regulate the placement of a manufactured residence.”

“I am concerned there is not anything at all in our law that demands the installer to crosscheck any deeds or residence data,” wrote Amy Jones, TDHCA’s general counsel. “In reality, manufactured properties are generally set up on residence not owned by the home-owner, i.e. leased assets.”

Ron and Jacqueline Howard at their home on the wrong property
Ron and Jacqueline Howard stand in their backyard in front of the porch that Ron Howard was making prior to learning their house was on the erroneous assets. (KXAN Image/Dalton Huey)

KXAN arrived at out to Bluebonnet Electric powered and Aqua H2o Supply, the providers that installed utility companies on the property, as perfectly as Bastrop County Development Expert services and Titan Factory Direct.

According to Bluebonnet Electric’s web-site, the system for setting up electrical support could have to have a deed of landownership for easement. In the Howards’ case, a new easement was not essential and for that reason a deed of landownership wasn’t needed to put in electrical energy. KXAN spoke with Will Holford, a spokesman for Bluebonnet Electric, who stated “there was an present easement for electric lines offering electricity to Mohawk Travel. Bluebonnet changed an existing pole and mounted an electric powered meter and protection mild at the site as requested by our member.”  

In accordance to Aqua Drinking water Supply’s web-site, it necessitates a survey plat with discipline notes of the home to start off service. Jacqueline Howard said Aqua H2o Provide received the plat survey, which KXAN verified by means of easement records filed with Bastrop County. KXAN spoke with Dave McMurry, Basic Supervisor at Aqua H2o Offer, who presented the following assertion:

“Jacqueline and Ron Howard’s home is positioned in a platted subdivision in which the developer put in the essential h2o infrastructure.  For this motive, the drinking water assistance relationship did not need a road bore, line extension, and many others. and was just a very simple meter set. In this circumstance, Aqua sees the customer’s deed as proof of possession but does not study the residence with the county. Aqua’s Shopper Assistance then offers the shopper with a meter stake to area in a location exactly where they desire the meter to be placed on the assets.  Aqua set up the meter in that place. Aqua does not perform a study to put in the meter and without the need of any other frame of reference, is relying on the customer’s understanding of the location of their house.”

Additionally, according to the Bastrop County Improvement Services application, proof of possession and a copy of a survey or plat are expected to start off advancement, building or septic installation on the residence, but it is unclear regardless of whether it has added processes to affirm the site of services prior to set up. KXAN spoke with a agent from Bastrop County Progress Providers and is awaiting a response as it seems to be into the make a difference.

The Howards reported they questioned Titan to verify the locale of their land prior to installing their residence and had been reassured the land survey was all they necessary.

When achieved by phone, Titan’s common manager instructed KXAN they were being doing the job with the house proprietors but declined to provide further remarks.

Upcoming of the property

The Howards stated Titan came to their property final Thursday and confirmed the situation but did not have an clarification for how this transpired. In accordance to the Howards, Titan is at the moment operating with the real home homeowners to see if investing qualities is an selection, so they really do not have to uproot their life.

In the meantime, the Howards halted residence advancement assignments and hope they can remain on the land they’ve invested years bettering.

“We’ve put in so a lot time and cash on this land,” Jacqueline Howard claimed. “We really do not want to move.”