Wrong House

Reporter: Graeme Butler

73 year old pensioner John Kirkland is feeling a bit like he's been shot - he's just discovered the house he's lived in for 7 years isn't his - "last three weeks I've hardly slept worried sick what they're going to do to me" John bought this Spearwood unit... number 14A and moved in - he even spent a small fortune on renovations, what John didn't know was he was spending money on a property he didn't own - he actually owned the place next door.

The problem only came to light when National Australia Bank went to foreclose on a mortgage for the neighbouring unit ... a title search revealed the startling bungle... it owned John's house and John owned it's... the bank's lawyers contacted John, "when she accused me of living in the wrong house and it's my fault that national bank can't sell their property hang on I've never seen anybody from national bank none of them spoke to any how can I be accused of interfering with their business when I don't know nothing about it" John received a letter from lawyers telling him unless he co-operated it would "leave our client with little option but to take steps to take possession of lot 2 as ordered by the court" in other words boot John out of his house.

"No suggestion should have been made to Mr Kirkland that he may need to leave his home because it's simply not the case we believe this error on his title can be fixed and we believe that can be done through a title swap and we apologise if that suggestion was ever made to Mr Kirkland that he would ever need to leave his home. Rebekah Miles from NAB says the bank has now contacted John directly and is sorting out the mess. "This has been a highly unusual situation and one that was quite confusing I think what is most important now that we resolve it as easily as possible for Mr Kirkland we believe that can be done through a title swap and we're talking to him about that now"

So how did this mess happen? ... well it could be as simple as the wrong letters being stuck on the front doors when they were built... a simple mistake to make but far more complicated to undo... it's enough to make any home owner wonder... after all most people have never set eyes on their titles.. Let alone checked them

It's not clear whose to blame... the developer, agent, settlement agent - either way it seems no one closely checked the original titles. While NAB didn't create the mess in the first place it says John Kirkland won't be left out of pocket.

To check your property title go to the Landgate ( formerly DOLA ) website

http://www.landgate.wa.gov.au/