U.S. city changes mind, decides to put tiny-home operators out of business

Tiny home interior (video screenshot)
Tiny home interior (Video screenshot)

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A city in Florida has reversed itself, deciding instead of allowing tiny homes inside its borders, the structures are now banned – and with that decision comes officials’ determination to put two entrepreneurs out of business.

The Institute for Justice is fighting back.

The legal team has posted online a report about the catastrophe that has befallen Krsna Balynas and Govinda Carol.

They started out – about the time the COVID-19 pandemic struck – in building a tiny home and offering it for short-term rental.

They quickly realized there was a demand for their offering.

So with the recognition from the town of Alachua City officials that they could be classified and licensed as RVs, they built a dozen.

But now, in an abrupt redirection, the city withdrew its authorization and claimed the homes had to be removed immediately.

The IJ now has written to the city asking for reconsideration of its change.

“The city’s sudden about-face regarding these tiny homes pulls the rug out from under two budding entrepreneurs. But they had been operating in plain sight for over two years,” said IJ Senior Attorney Ari Bargil. “That is simply unfair. Citizens should be able to expect the government to apply their own regulations with consistency and fairness. Otherwise, our laws are meaningless.”

The tiny home business is known as Simplify Further, and operates a dozen of the compact living units.

The institute’s team explained, “Initially, Alachua interpreted its ordinances to classify tiny homes as RVs, which were allowed under the code. Additionally, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles allowed them to register the homes as RVs and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation licensed them as transient lodging establishments.”

But this month, “Alachua changed its mind” and the business operators were ordered to remove their homes.

“IJ is asking Alachua to either allow Krsna and Govinda to continue their business or provide them an additional 120 days to comply,” the legal team explained.

“This attack on our livelihood has been deeply unsettling. We are preparing for the birth of our next baby in a little over a month, and this has absolutely rocked the financial foundation that we have worked so hard to build,” said Krsna. “We spent years investing in and streamlining our business so that we could have the freedom to devote more time and energy to our family. We were almost there, and then the city shattered that vision when it pulled everything out from under us. It is inhumane and unfair what they are doing to our family.”

The fight is not entirely new to the IJ, which already has taken on a Georgia zoning law that bans tiny homes, another similar problem in Arizona, and in Idaho where officials banned a woman from living in her own home.

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