Developer Builds $500K Home on the Wrong Lot, and Then Sues the Land Owner For His Own Mistake

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Apr 28, 2024

A bad situation for a landowner in Hawaii has only gotten worse in recent weeks.

Annaleine (Anne) Reynolds purchased a one-acre lot on the Big Island of Hawaii for roughly $22,500 at a county tax auction a few years ago. What she thought was her good luck has now turned into a troubling legal battle.

Plans for the Lot

When Anne bought her dream property in the Hawaiian Paradise Park, she thought she would one day move there to build her dream.

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She had plans of building a meditative healing women’s retreat on the land to provide much needed mental health support to the women in her community.

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Finding a New House on Her Property

As reported by Hawaii News Now, Anne was shocked to find out from a real estate broker that a house was built on her lot without her permission.

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Last year, a three-bedroom house was built on the lot. The $500,000 house was built by a developer and sold off to a new owner without discovering the massive mistake.

Origins of the Home

After the development company, Keaau Development Partnership, LLC, hired a local construction company, they built about a dozen homes in the area.

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A mostly finished home is under construction the driveway and yard are fresh earth

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In a subdivision of the Big Island’s Puna district, the developer and construction company made a massive profit due to their ability to purchase large pieces of land and sell beautiful homes in a short period of time.

The Developer Is Trying To Assign Blame

Unfortunately, the developer has decided that everyone else should now pay for their mistake.

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The company has thrown out heavy lawsuits both to the company that they contracted to build the homes and to Anne, the original property owner for not accepting their first offer.

The Landowner Just Wants What She Purchased

Although the developer offered to sell her the house or allow her to swap the property for a piece of undeveloped land nearby, Anne says that she just wants what she originally purchased.

A row of small houses next to large bushes and palm trees sit under a rainbow on a nice day in the island of Kauai

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Keaau Development is now suing Anne because they believe that she is attempting to extract more money for the mistake.

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Setting a Dangerous Legal Precedent

Although she could accept the new lot a few miles away from her original property, legal representation for the landowner, James DiPasquale, says that this could set a dangerous precedent.

A white house with a black roof sits next to lush foliage, palm trees, and a rainbow in Hawaii

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A development company should not be able to walk onto someone else’s land and build a house without any legal repercussions.

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Landowners Spirituality Called Into Question

Originally, Anne said that she didn’t want a new lot due to her spiritual connection to the land. However, the Hawaiian owned developers don’t believe her.

A woman holds a Yoga pose with her hands above her head and one leg up white next to a lake and green forest

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An attorney for the developers has stated that their client finds Anne’s statement about a spiritual connection to a place that she’s never even visited to be disingenuous and culturally offensive.

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Anne Pushed Into an Experience She Never Asked For

Anne’s legal council maintains that she deserves a payout for the experience due to her apprehension in the involvement.

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The burden that the house brings, along with this ugly legal battle, are things that Anne never asked to, or consented to, be involved with.

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Squatters Are Now Living in the Home

Since the beautiful home in Hawaii has been sitting vacant for so long, messy squatters have moved into the house.

The inside of a destroyed house with broken appliances and furniture

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Due to the lengthy legal process needed to get squatters evicted from a property, it’s unclear if Anne could even enter the home to enjoy the space.

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Big Surprise When She Finally Visited the Property

Anne knew that she needed to finally land in Hawaii to visit the property and see the new house for herself.

A blue house with plywood boards on the doors and windows in front of trees

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After learning that squatters had taken up residence she went in with apprehension. She found that the home had been trashed and treated, quite literally, as a toilet.

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Skyrocketing Property Taxes

Due to the new home built on her lot, Anne says that her property taxes have increased dramatically without an ability to pay for the new bill.

A large two story house sits on a lush property with colorful flowers and palm trees

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Since a $500,000 house wasn’t within her budget, she doesn’t have the funds to currently pay for the upkeep, which includes house insurance and property tax. Both of these bills can be extremely expensive in Hawaii due to natural disasters and the beauty of the location.

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