SB couple fights to keep new home set to be demolished

South Bend, Ind. A South Bend couple is fighting to keep their newly purchased home after learning that it is set to be demolished.

Lily and Jose Reyna purchased their "dream house" on Woodward Avenue near the riverfront in South Bend earlier this year and began pouring time and money into fixing up the home.

"We had already bought all the windows, furnace, air-conditioning, water heater," said Lily Reyna. "We already got a lot of material to make it beautiful."

But while trying to set up utilities, Reyna was told that the home was on the demolition list for outstanding violations, and had been since 2011.

The home was originally purchased in a 2012 St. Joseph County tax sale, at which point it was the responsibility of the original buyer to contact the South Bend Dept. of Code Enforcement to learn of any outstanding code violations.

The Reynas said they were not informed of any issues with the house at the time they purchased it.

"We weren't aware of anything," said Lily's husband, Jose Reyna. "They didn't tell us anything. All they told us was that the home was abandoned. So we saw an opportunity there, we saw the house and my wife and I fell in love with it."

Reyna went to the Dept. of Code Enforcement as soon as she learned of the problem. The City is currently helping the couple sort through the situation.

"The City of South Bend is aware of Ms. Reynas situation and has been talking with her about possible solution," said Shubhada Kambli, Director of Code Enforcement, City of South Bend, in a statement to NewsCenter16.

"While we are sensitive to her circumstances, we cannot stress enough that home buyers must do due diligence before acquiring a property to assess inherent risks in real-estate transactions," Kambli said. "Residents should check with the department of Code Enforcement if unpaid municipal liens are on a property, or if it’s on the demolition list. We encourage residents to be fully aware of potential issues before purchasing a house."

To make matters worse, the Reynas already sold their current home in South Bend and are expected to be out by the end of the month.

"We don't have any other plans," Lily Reyna said. "Because we did not know about the demolition, this was our plan to move in at the end of the month."

The Reynas are hopeful that they can work together with the City to sort things out.

In the meantime, they're hoping their experience serves as a lesson to others looking to buy homes at a tax sale.

"We are so motivated to make this house beautiful," Lily Reyna said. "It is going to break our hearts I mean if they don't allow us to keep our house because we bought the house, we bought a house, we want to keep our house."

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