Why Living in an Illegal Tiny House is an Act of Civil Disobedience

by Simplify

Robin’s illegal tiny house in West Sacramento, California, is challenging her local government to think twice about current housing regulations.

In this video, Robin talks about her mission to use her tiny home as an example, in order to create fairer housing policies with room for alternative living choices:

Robin already had her shipping container home and was living on her sister’s property when she saw the opportunity to buy a beautiful parcel of land in a plot in West Sacramento zoned for residential living. So she bought the land and moved - only to discover that residential zoning laws had no room for her tiny home.

So she started making phone calls to different officials in her local government, trying to get some answers. As she educated herself more, she discovered a systematic problem, where laws were written in a way that excluded homes - forcing people into less economically viable options, like large homes with even larger mortgages.

Why and where are tiny homes illegal?

One example is an assessment plan. In order to get hooked up to the grid and water services, you first need to do an assessment plan, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars and cannot be paid in installments, so residents must live without access to basic municipal utilities in the meantime. Robin successfully fought for lower assessments that would be proportional to the expected impact and utility usage of the property.

Although she is an intensely private person, Robin has chosen to open up about her journey in order to help others. In turn, people across America have shared their stories of housing struggles, including stories of homelessness, which inspires her more to continue on her journey.

Illegal tiny house

Today, Robin sees her decision to live in her illegal shipping container tiny home as an act of civil disobedience. She is open with her neighbors about the legal status of her home, and has found them to be extremely supportive. One even rents her water, since the city still won’t connect Robin’s home to the water supply.

Robin hopes that her story will raise awareness and inspire others.

For more alternative living stories, discover how building a tiny home in their backyard enabled this couple to live mortgage free or why this couple decided to take their tiny home off the grid.

To see more videos, check out the Tiny House Expedition YouTube channel.

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