We bought a small house for our family – but it was so badly built that the doctors told us we couldn’t live there anymore
A COUPLE claims their dreams have been dashed after doctors advised them to give up their tiny house.
Tiny houses are growing in popularity as people hope to have their own space as rents and real estate prices soar.
Ky and Shantae DeBuse faced such expenses when they discovered tiny houses and jumped at the opportunity to live their best life.
At the time, the two were college students, and the prospect of a small home meant they could live in Northfield, Minnesota and avoid high city expenses.
The couple explained that with their young son JP, they were “parents who needed a stable environment to thrive,” it says bring me the news.
However, they claim that things took a terrible turn when their dream home was built by contracted contractor Scott Stewart of Slabtown Customs.
According to their blog, the couple accused the Arkansas-based contractor of allegedly cutting corners during construction, which made the tiny house unsuitable for living. Operation Tiny Fix It.
While Stewart was building his $45,000 miniature home, the couple claimed he didn’t return their calls when they asked for updates.
They say that even as the couple flew to Arkansas, they were suddenly informed that they could not see their own trailer for security reasons.
Instead, the couple claimed they were later shown a model home that was completely different from what they envisioned as the end result.
Anyhow, Ky and Shantae were initially thrilled to finally have their living space, although they said it was delivered a few months after it was promised.
“The appearance was aesthetically pleasing and we were so lucky to actually have the house and quite frankly never to see Scott again,” the couple wrote on their blog.
However, Ky and Shantae claim that the homeowners quickly ran into trouble after only living in the tiny house for a short time.
The inside of the room was exposed to the elements through unsealed holes in the home’s insulation, which also allowed cables and pipes to protrude, the couple said.
It reportedly got worse from there.
Ky and Shantae said they noticed exposed plumbing, faulty electrical systems, and poor interior finishes, among several other issues at the home.
Insulation remained arguably the biggest concern, as the couple claimed over the winter that the temperature inside the tiny house wouldn’t rise above 55°C even with four heaters running.
Ultimately, the doctors told the couple that they could not continue to live in the shelter as they were not given adequate protection there.
“We have been told by our doctors that we can no longer live in the house in such conditions and quite frankly we don’t know if we can survive another winter,” the couple wrote on their blog.
They explained that additional problems with roofs and windows resulted in rain and snow entering the home.
“Every time it rains or snows, water enters the home through the back windows, which are built without edging, coupled with a poor roof covering that directs water directly into the home,” said Ky and Shantae.
The couple also claimed that mold was growing in the house and they both reportedly suffered from pneumonia after moving in.
“Because the insulation in the walls was exposed, the water quickly led to mold growth in many areas of the house,” they noted.
Tragically, the couple said they paid for the tiny house in full up front and sold most of their belongings.
The space reportedly passed an inspection under Arkansas laws, but the pair weren’t there to be there, according to a conversation with Bring Me The News.
“We misunderstood that we were buying a new house that didn’t need any further inspection or repair on our part,” they said.
Ky and Shantae claim they contacted Stewart about repairs that never materialized and eventually sought legal action against the contractor.
The legal fees of around $4,000 ended up being too high and they would not have seen their money for at least 10 years.
The couple therefore chose not to sue.
Eventually, they turned to the Minnesota community for help and even started one GoFundMe to procure materials and labor so that their small home could be livable.
At the time of writing, almost $5,000 has been raised towards the $10,000 goal.
However, in 2019, Stewart was sued by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
The small home builder has been sued on fraud and other charges, and officials allege he swindled customers in Arkansas states across the country out of more than $115,000.
Stewart and Slabtown Customs “failed to complete the homes and did not return money he paid as a deposit,” according to Rutledge’s lawsuit.
“No matter how ‘tiny’ the task, contracts must be honored fairly and projects completed,” the attorney general noted in a November 2019 press release.
“Families have made an investment in their future that Stewart could not afford.”
Rutledge added, “I don’t want to see another client taken advantage of with hopes and investments in a new home that never materialize.”
The lawsuit noted that since 2014, the attorney general’s office had received at least eight complaints from customers claiming their tiny homes were never built or refunds were never issued.
Small homeowners in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania encountered similar situations.
Stewart and Slabtown Customs were also evicted from their property in March 2019 after a bank foreclosed, according to the lawsuit.
According to Arkansas Fox News, the case ended with a verdict in the state’s favour KLRT TV.
The Pulaski County Circuit Court ordered Stewart to pay $110,000 in civil penalties, about $132,000 in consumer compensation and about $500 in state costs and fees.
The court also ruled that Stewart was “prohibited from doing business related to tiny house, other storage units, or RV construction in Arkansas until he has paid all civil penalties, fees and costs ordered by the court.”