(FOX19) - Imagine finding out you own a dilapidated home you never wanted. Then you're told you'll have to pay to bring it up to code.
Believe it or not, it's happening to one Cincinnati man.
"I was afraid to step on to the property based on I don't assume it's mine," said Robert Auel to City Code Enforcement Manager Ed Cunningham Friday afternoon.
Robert says he looked at the home at 1918 Queen City Avenue several months ago but never agreed to buy it.
"He didn't discuss price. He was talking about pretty much free. That they wanted out from under it and they seemed like great people or whatever. They were going to draw some papers up for the transaction. I was going to meet them in an attorney's office. They were not available," said Auel.
Robert says he never signed the documents and never agreed to take the home but last Friday learned he is listed on the auditor's website as the owner.
According to the conveyance statement from the auditor's office, the previous owners Ronald and Kim Davis granted him the property valued at just under five thousand dollars. FOX 19 talked to Davis' attorney Andrew George Friday over the phone who says he was retained by the couple to draw up a deed and did not need Robert's signature to do it. The city auditor's office assumed the agreement to be valid and transferred ownership to Robert.
"Now I'm petrified. What if there is a dead man in there from shooting dope last night? Who's body is that? Mine or his? I mean I don't know," said Auel.
Now it looks like Robert has to hire an attorney to get rid of a home he never wanted. Cunningham says the city will hold off on holding him responsible for maintain the property until the whole situation is sorted out. Cunningham called it a fraudulent transfer that isn't entirely uncommon.
"I've seen it happen. It's unfortunate. Again, it's hard to protect yourself from being the victim of fraud. It can happen many different ways. This is another one," said Cunningham.
We've tried reaching the Davis' for their response. So far, we've haven't been successful. According to Code Enforcement, the property has been cited 9 times since 2010 for vacant and litter violations.