Published: Mar 13, 2012 11:32 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 14, 2012 1:37 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A Cape Coral couple is struggling to fix a problem they say should have been taken care of years ago. The Lowrie family bought a home in 2010 but had no idea a portion of the lanai was in violation. 

The concrete patio in the Lowrie family's yard sits about two feet next to the neighboring property when the city it should be closer to 7 feet. The Lowries knew the deck was close to the property but assumed there was already a variance in place when they closed on the home.

They say they're are on a fixed income and can't afford to fix the violation.   This new dream home in paradise has turned into a nighmare for Pat and Michelle Lowrie  "We had no idea, I had no idea there was any difficulty whatsoever," said Michelle.     

When they move into the home in 2010, it was being fixed for chinese drywall. They tell us they asked their contractor to build a screen around their patio. That's when things started to go downhill fast starting with the contractor. "Then they finished and the contractor told us he was going to the city to get his final approval. We never saw him again," said Pat.  

A building inspector then told them the very thing that attracted the couple to the house, a section of slab and walkway, had to go. The Lowries say that's something that should have been realized years ago.

"It's not proper to penalize somebody for buying something thats already there, if they wanted to do something they should have done it while it was being built," said Pat. 
The couple asked the city for a variance but was denied. They are appealing and Cape Councilman Kevin McGrail says he wants to help. "What happens occasionally is someone will not pull a permit and put the thing in, just pour a slab of cement - that should have been caught when home was rehabbed for the chinese drywall," he said.  

As for the couple it's been a long and expensive road and they hope this issue can be resolved soon. "I just feel like we're being made to correct a lot of different peoples errors," said Michelle.

Councilman mcgrail says he wants to take a trip out to the couple's property and look at the situation for himself. He wants to help the couple move forward with their appeal process.