tiny home being towed by suv
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 10, 2024 ·  3 min read

Woman Had to Move Out of Her Tiny Home After 1 Day Because the City Threatened to Fine Her $1,000 a Day

Tiny homes are the new way of living. They have everything you need in a house with limited space. In particular, if you’re a minimalist, the tiny home allows people to reduce clutter and live with only the essentials. Sometimes, people seek out a large lot of land to achieve peace and quiet in our vastly populated world.

Additionally, if someone lives on a tight budget, this method of housing is generally much less expensive. Their benefits greatly outweigh the cons. However, earlier this year, a Meridian, Idaho woman ran into a snag with her tiny home.

Image Credit: Chasidy Decker | Institute for Justice

A Solution to the Housing Crisis

Chasidy Decker moved into a tiny home to solve her inability to buy a home. She put her new 252 sq ft tiny home on the property of Robert Calacal. The pair agreed on a $600 monthly rent, and Chasidy parked her new mobile, tiny home in the yard. Calacal lives in California but owns a home and the property on which Decker has moved her tiny home.

However, within one day of the new living arrangements, a concerned neighbor contacted the city’s government to find out about any laws that may prohibit Decker from living on Calacal’s property. It turns out the city has a ban on living in mobile homes, and a tiny home falls into that category.

Image Credit: Chasidy Decker | Institute for Justice

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Law Enforcement Bans Tiny Home

Decker and Calacal were contacted by a Meridian city code enforcement officer. The pair was informed they would face criminal prosecution and fines of $1,000 daily. Alternatively, Decker was told she could move out instead. In response to these threats, Robert and Chasidy pointed out that many other neighbors and residents also lived in tiny homes and RVs throughout the neighborhood.

However, they were told the other neighbors were allowed to be there because they had been there for a long period. In contrast, Decker and Calacal are newer residents who haven’t been residents for long, with one currently residing in another state. According to the Institute of Justice, this is not a legal law to enforce.

Taking a Legal Approach

As a follow-up to the tiny home fiasco, Decker has opted to take legal action. She’s suing the city of Meridian because she’s now homeless. The pair filed a lawsuit, bringing up five examples of how the tiny home ban breaches Idaho’s state constitution. The Institute for Justice has picked up the case and wrote a blog about the woman’s struggles.

They are a non-profit law firm that helps citizens with various needs, including putting an end to the abuse of power by government officials. According to the blog, Boise is one of the places in the nation that has been hit hardest by the housing crisis. They estimate the cost of living has increased by 118% since 2017. Meridian is a roughly 20-minute drive from Boise. As a result, it’s understandable how this rise of cost has had an impact on the surrounding cities, including Meridian.

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Reinforcements Against Tiny Home Ban

In addition to sharing her story with the Institute of Justice, Decker also shared her story with the ‘Idaho Statesman.’ She has expressed that she is “disappointed because I really wish I was living in my home again. But I have high hopes that in the end, something good will happen. And I appreciate that the judge is so engaged with the case, because this is something that affects a lot of people in the housing crisis.”

Judge Jason Scott, currently presiding over the District Court of Ada County. He is reviewing the case and has allowed 4 of the 5 examples to move forward. However, he has stated that Decker isn’t allowed to reside in her tiny home during the legal proceedings.

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