You know the old saying, “Get it in writing.” I did not.
In the spring of 2014, I purchased the Ynez Tiny House building plans from a licensed architect at Oregon Cottage Company for $350. I then purchased a brand new 20 foot long Flatbed Trailer which was registered to me. The trailer cost $3,500. I entered into a verbal agreement with a handyman neighbor, Mike, who agreed to build the Ynez Tiny House on the 20 foot trailer according to the building plans I provided. Mike set up the trailer on his property in order to more easily work on the construction of the Tiny House.
I gave money to Mike each month and he built most of the Tiny House including the insulated floor, the framing, the walls, metal roof, and installed most of the windows. I believed that the verbal agreement regarding the building of the Tiny House was working out in a satisfactory manner. Over the year I gave Mike a total of $11,405 which mostly went into the materials for the Tiny House. So the total I had invested so far in the Tiny House was $15,255.
My goal was to get out of debt and become mortgage free, and live in the Tiny House on my new 6 acres of land. Since the Tiny House was almost finished, and the new 10 x 16 shed was already built on my new land, I decided to sell the house I lived in. One day soon I came over very happy to tell Mike the good news, “I sold my home! We need to finish the Tiny House fast! I need to live in the Tiny House next month.” That day I worked all afternoon with Mike installing insulation in the ceiling of the Tiny House. Everything seemed fine.
However, THE NEXT DAY, Mike informed me that he needed to be paid the entire $8,000 that I owed him for his labor costs on the Tiny House right now. Mike said he would not do ANY further work on the Tiny House until he was paid the entire $8,000 that was owed to him. He also said I may NOT REMOVE the trailer from his property until the $8,000 was PAID IN FULL. Mike also said I MAY NOT have any other hired person come and work on the Tiny House on his property. I suggested a payment plan, since I had been making monthly payments to Mike for over a year already. Mike said NO. He insisted that the $8,000 must be paid in full before he would release the unfinished Tiny House from his property.
THEN the truth came out. Mike wanted to keep my Tiny House! Mike had been busy watching “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House Hunters,” and various other Tiny House TV shows. He wanted to finish my Tiny House and sell it for a profit! Mike said he could buy my Tiny House from me right now for $10,000 cash. (This was $5,255 less than what I had invested in the Tiny House up to this point.)
So basically, he waited until HE KNEW I was about to become homeless, and then refused to give me the almost-finished Tiny House that belonged to me! I told Mike I would sign a legally binding payment plan that said I would pay $1,000 per month for 8 months. I would let him hold the Title to the Tiny House until it was paid off. Mike said NO. At that point I lost my temper and called Mike some various colorful names that cannot be printed here.
I have told Mike my Tiny House is not for sale. I want him to put IN WRITING exactly how much I owe him in order to get my unfinished Tiny House off his property. I told Mike he can keep the $350 Tiny House building plans I gave him, and build his OWN new Tiny House if he wants to.
So I don’t know what will happen. We might end up living for a while in the cute fixed up shed………