PALM BAY,Fla. — It’s a homeowner nightmare no one could expect: A Palm Bay woman discovered her home was built on the wrong lot and now faces legal threats to kick her off the property.
Debbie Kaplan has owned her Palm Bay home since 2009, or so she thought.
A letter arrived from the county Property Appraiser's Office saying her home was built on a property owned by somebody else.
“What is your worst fear?” asked Action 9’s Todd Ulrich.
“It's losing my house. Somebody telling me, ‘Oh you have to get out,'" said Kaplan.
The day she bought the house, everyone involved in the buying process agreed the address was 1331 Palau Street. But later, Brevard County officials told her that address is really the empty lot right next door.
The home builder is now out of business and made the mistake. Then, the survey company hired for Kaplan’s closing failed to discover it was built on the wrong lot.
She tried to file a claim against her title insurance, which was supposed to protect her from this kind situation.
“'Give us some time and we'll get back to you.' But no one ever gets back to you,” said Kaplan.
Now, the Miami family who owns the lot has hired an attorney.
“He's probably going to sue me so I'm really stumped on what my next move will be,” said Kaplan.
Todd Ulrich showed Kaplan's documents to real estate attorney Karen Wonsetler, who said Kaplan can force the title insurance company to act.
“Title insurance is supposed to protect your ownership rights not only a threat to her ownership but the roof over her head, her homestead,” said Wonsetler.
Once a claim is processed, the best solution could be a land swap. Kaplan gives the Miami owner her empty lot then she keeps the land under her house.
“I just want to live my nice quiet life,” said Debbie Kaplan.
Action 9 contacted the survey company and the title agent, and both have promised to work with Kaplan.
She now has the right title insurance information, and filed a claim today.