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I live in a tiny home off the grid and it's heaven

Aug 22, 2023Aug 22, 2023

A TINY home owner says she is under constant threat of eviction despite living in her dream home for five years.

Robyn invested in her rectangular shipping container home five years ago and she's now taking part in what she dubbed civil disobedience.

The 20-foot long container offers 160 square feet of internal space and can be hooked up to existing utilities or be set up to function off-grid.

She explained her living situation in a YouTube video called Her Illegal Tiny House on her own Land! Civil Disobedience as Advocacy.

She says in the video that she ran into trouble when she tried to move her tiny home onto a new piece of land she purchased in West Sacramento, California.

After living on a parcel of her sister's land for a couple years, Robyn decided to purchase a small residential lot.

But she "has been fighting the city to be able to live there" almost ever since she moved in, she said.

The city has a number of permits and certifications that new home owners are supposed to complete in order to legally inhabit land within city limits, and Robyn had to learn about all of them.

"I essentially started to just call local building departments," she said.

"I didn't even really know who to call – I was calling everybody."

One of the first and most restrictive hurdles was the "impact fee," according to Robyn.

It must be paid in a single cash payment and can be upwards of $50,000, restricting who can afford to realistically move into the city, she said.

When Robyn learned about this policy, she began petitioning local representatives and boards to allow for proportional impact fees and a payment plan for qualifying new homeowners.

Although she owns both her tiny home and the property on which it is parked, she is technically living illegally and off-the-grid without her own water, sewage, or electricity hookups, the tiny home owner said.

"It is civil disobedience," she said about her way of life.

"It is a way to be completely transparent with your local government, with your local community, your neighbors."

She simply wanted to live in an affordable home in a neighborhood that she liked, she said.

But "it turned into advocacy," she said.

She intends to continue fighting for fair housing for everyone, and to stay in her cozy tiny home.

"Just make it affordable," she said.

"We gotta come up with a path... I'm more than willing to be the example."