Sinking Home Up For Auction?

POSTED: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 6:08am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:24pm

EL PASO--- It's been some time since Debbie Brooks greeted any visitors to her home; a home, she says, is falling apart.

"It ends up in their hair, and that's really embarrassing. It's hard to have somebody come over here," said Brooks about the pieces of ceiling that fall to her floor every day.

Walking through the Brooks home, there are cracks at every corner.
Debbie can't open her windows or her doors without breaking them.
Nails are coming out of the walls.
She says it's all been a problem since she moved in nine years ago.

"People would tell me, that the, oh the house is just settling," she said. "But no, that's not what it was."

After living in this broken home for six years, Debbie says she had enough.

"I had to hire an attorney and we had to get engineers out here," she said.

Brooks hired two engineers.
One, a structural engineer. The other, a geotechnical engineer who checked the soil underneath her home.

"It comes to find out that this house is sitting on a bed of clay," said Brooks.

According to the report, five feet of very wet clay.

"I just couldn't believe it, I was in shock for some time and I just thought, 'how can these people get away with this?' I mean, they're crooks!" she said.

Brooks says she's sued the warranty company, won in arbitration, but still no one has given her a dime.

And just like the cracks forming throughout her home, Brooks' problems keep growing.

"There was enough evidence to support the structure being condemned," said Victor Torres, who's been following Brooks' case at the El Paso Development Services Dept.

He says her home is too dangerous to live in.

"If the property owner doesn't take action, the city will take action and file a lien on the property," said Torres.

At a public hearing, the Building and Standards Commission told Brooks she has to move out in 30 days.

"I really do not have a place to go. I just thought immediately, I'd be sleeping in my car," said Brooks.

Knowing her home was practically worthless, Debbie stopped making payments months ago.
That led to a foreclosure by Chase Bank.
We found the home listed on the El Paso County web site as a house going on the auction block Tuesday.

"How can you make this offer, and even go up to the courthouse and have these auctions, when you know what's going on with this house?" said Brooks, after receiving notice of the auction in the mail.

Brooks says she plans to be at that auction to tell buyers to beware.
They might buy a home that's been nothing like the dream she hoped for.

Chase Bank called NewsChannel 9 late Monday.
We asked if they plan to disclose the structural problems to anyone trying to buy the house.

The spokesman said he'd look in to it, and let us know how they plan to proceed.

We'll let you know what happens.

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