Couple forced from Fall River home in land dispute - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Couple forced from Fall River home in land dispute

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FALL RIVER, Mass. -

Gary and Joyce Lamotat lived in their Fall River home for more than three decades.

"We own the house. Not anymore, evidently, because we've been evicted from the house," Gary Lamotat said Tuesday.

The house sits on waterfront property overlooking Westport.

And while the Lamotats bought the materials to build the house over the years, they don't own the land it's on.

"We were leasing the land with the promise from the father of being able to buy a small piece of land when the land came up for sale," Gary Lamotat said.

Lamotat said the owner died and that the property passed to his wife and then their children. While there are more than 80 acres, Lamotat said he only wants to buy a half-acre.

"When I asked to buy the piece of property that I was on, they said I had to buy everything or nothing at $1.4 million," he said.

The property owner acknowledged that Lamotat and his wife can't afford the property and he told us they've been in court over it for nearly seven years. Other than that, the property owner had no comment.

Joyce Lamotat said she understands the property owners can do what they want with their property.

"To a point, but we had an agreement. They came down and helped us build. They got the building permit for us," Joyce Lamotat said.

Joyce Lamotat acknowledged that they had no legal agreement, just an understanding -- a handshake.

Over the past few weeks, the Lamotats pulled apart their house, trying to save windows, cabinets, pretty much anything they could save from inside. All of their belongings are in storage trailers as they wait to find a new home.

"We were young and we said, 'Yeah we trust you,'" Joyce Lamotat said. "This is the most painful thing we've ever been in. We have nowhere to go."

The Lamotats said they've emptied their house.

They've spent many thousands of dollars on legal fees and it appears they've gone as far as they can go, at least for now.

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