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Mobile tiny homes offer affordable housing options to some

Tiny Homes
Posted at 2:22 PM, Mar 15, 2022

SAN DIEGO — COVID-19 was not kind to Jovanny and Neli Baltazar.

“Because of the pandemic, my wife was unemployed for about a year. So that was a big hit,” said Jovanny Baltazar.

They've been struggling to make their mortgage payments. Now that they're both working, they want to catch up.

“This is a way to help us to recoup basically what we’ve been going through and also again, help others,” said Baltazar.

They came to city offices in San Diego to learn about putting a tiny mobile home on their property.

Yes. You heard that right—a tiny home on wheels.

“Because they are on wheels and they’re not on a permanent foundation, they are built to a different set of codes. A lot of times, that can be 30% to 50% to 60% cheaper than a home on a foundation,” said Arya Mazanek.

Mazanek is one of the founders of Wilderwise, a mobile tiny home company. Her’s is just one of many getting set up at Tiny Fest in San Diego.

“So our home weighs 20,000 lbs. We toured around the country for six thousand miles for six months,” said Lindsay Wood.

Wood and her husband have been living in their tiny mobile home since late 2019. She says it's much more affordable than living in a standard home.

Arya says her homes start at $85,000. With a $17,000 down payment and a unique tiny home loan from banks, your monthly mortgage would be about $300 a month over 25 to 30 years.

But it's not as simple as dropping the house off in their backyard. There are a lot of requirements.

“There are rules on visibility from the street; for example, there are rules on how far back from the street can this tiny moveable home be located because the fire department has to be able to access it from the rear. It has gas, it has the power so you could have fire from the rear,” said Ali Fattah.

As inspector Fattah explained, it’s complicated. But if you’re wondering if someone can just park home on your street, the answer is no.

“You don’t need to get a building permit to drive your car and park on the street,” said Fattah, “However, when you place a structure on a lot, we have to be concerned with where is the lot, is it in a high fire severity zone because of wildfire risk, is it in a flood zone, is it in a coastal zone? There’s a lot of rules for placing structures in different parts of the city.”

So the Baltazars won’t be getting a permit today, but they are determined to keep moving forward. A way for them to help themselves and help their community.

“There’s a lot of people that are homeless. A lot of people are struggling to find a place to live. Rents are going higher the cost of living is higher, groceries, gas alone right now, we’re going into $6,” said Baltazar.