A woman had to move out of her tiny home after 1 day because the city threatened to fine her $1,000 a day

A woman had to move out of her tiny home after 1 day because the city threatened to fine her $1,000 a day
Chasidy Decker's tiny home.Institute for Justice
  • A woman is suing the city of Meridian, Idaho, over its ban on living in mobile homes.
  • Chasidy Decker bought her tiny home because she couldn't afford a traditional house.

A woman who bought a tiny home is taking legal action against her city, which threatened to fine her $1,000 a day if she continued living in it because the action left her unhoused.

Chasidy Decker of Meridian, Idaho, couldn't afford to buy a house, so she opted for the 252-square-foot tiny home and arranged to put it on Robert Calacal's property for $600 a month, according to the lawsuit.

A neighbor called the Meridian Police Department when the tiny home arrived on the property and asked whether living in it would be legal.

In May last year, a day after Decker moved in, a Meridian city-code-enforcement officer threatened both Decker and Calacal with criminal prosecution and fines of $1,000 a day unless she moved out, the Institute for Justice wrote in a blog post.

A woman had to move out of her tiny home after 1 day because the city threatened to fine her $1,000 a day
Chasidy Decker is a 46-year-old woman who bought a 252-square feet tiny home.Institute for Justice

The institute, which files constitutional cases in state and federal courts, said in the blog post that Meridian's city code permitted trailers and recreational vehicles to park in residential neighborhoods but did not permit living in them.


Decker and Calacal filed a lawsuit to challenge the city's ban, bringing five claims as to why the restriction on tiny homes breached the Idaho constitution.

The judge presiding over the case at the time allowed four of the five claims to proceed, but blocked Decker from being allowed to live in her home during the legal proceedings.

Decker said she was "disappointed because I really wish I was living in my home again. But I have high hopes that in the end, something good will happen. And I appreciate that the judge is so engaged with the case, because this is something that affects a lot of people in the housing crisis," according to another Institute for Justice blog post.

Robert Belden, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, told Insider in December: "Everyone needs a place to live, but the city would rather have Chasidy be homeless than living in a tiny home on wheels parked on private property. That's not just wrong, it's unconstitutional. Making Chasidy homeless does nothing to improve public health, safety, or welfare in Meridian, and it certainly doesn't improve Chasidy's."

"At a time when so few affordable housing options are available, why is the city's zoning ordinance further reducing such options?" Belden said.


Belden said in an update about the case in January: "The city has talked a lot about improving housing affordability and accessibility but it won't get out of the way and let Chasidy live in the home she already owns, just because her home is on wheels."

A hearing will be taking place on May 24 this year on various motions the Institute for Justice filed. A trial date has been set for January 29, 2024.

The City of Meridian declined to comment.