A family faces foreclosure on a home they say was illegally built and sold to them

A family facing foreclosure wonders why a bank can take a home sold illegally.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Charmane and John Smith bought their home on Puhawai Road in Waianae in 2007, they thought it was the perfect place to raise their family.

But after paying $620,000 for the four-bedroom property, that dream turned into a 12-year nightmare of construction defects and illegal dumping.

“I am overwhelmed and disgusted by the whole situation,” said Charmane Smith.

Just a year after moving there, they found sewage backing up into their bathroom.

“I could hear my son in the back yelling ‘mom, mom this water is so smelly, it smells like doodoo,’" Smith said.

Their deed promised a septic tank for sewage but when they dug it up, they found a crudely built cesspool. They said the seller, David Souza, who still lives next door, built the cesspool illegally.

“We can’t use the toilet. That’s why we personally purchased ... a porta-potty,” she said.

“At night, we gotta pretty much use a bucket.”

Along with problems with the illegal cesspool, the Smiths also live next to a massive illegal dump site.

“The property line drops eight feet. Eight feet down, you can see it’s full with all kinds of stuff buried over there ... probably car parts, building materials, all kinds of stuff.”" said John Smith.

The land under their house also wasn’t properly subdivided -- which means technically they don’t own the land.

Over a decade ago, the Smith’s and Charmane Smith’s sister Kathy Naone began legal actions against the realtor, their title companies and Souza. They also stopped paying their mortgage in protest.

The suit is still pending but the lender recently moved to foreclosure on Smith’s home.

“I cannot see how anybody could (auction) our property because it’s not even mine," said Charmane Smith.

An attorney for Souza said his client has offered to fix many of the problems but that the Smiths and Naones are more interested in pursuing their lawsuit.

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