MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A tiny home dream has become a legal nightmare for a Central Valley family now on the verge of losing everything.
They blame their latest trouble on a bad trailer.
The coronavirus put Onnik Arakelian and Ivory Lynd in a financial bind, but they had a plan.
Instead of selling handmade jewelry to cruise ship passengers visiting Alaska, they'd take the summer to save some money by building a tiny home for themselves and maybe turn that into a business too.
They started by looking for a trailer on which to build their first.
"If you put it on this instead of a foundation, it gives you a couple benefits," said Ivory Lynd. "One is you're not paying the same type of fees and permits. You're also able to move it."
They found what seemed to be a great deal on Facebook.
Ttocs Trailers had a long one at a discount, so they bought it and the company's owner, Adam Scott, drove it to their Madera County property.
They painted it, added insulation, and started getting ready to build up.
"In doing so we started seeing flaws in the trailer so we had a welder come over to put a platform up top," Lynd said. "He just said this was a Frankenstein dead horse."
Welders told them the trailer isn't structurally sound. It's missing safety precautions including taillights. And they said it couldn't hold any weight, especially not a house they planned to drive all the way to Alaska.
"We really would've not known anything would've been wrong until we'd have been down the road," Arakelian said. "We could've very easily hurt people."
Arakelian and Lynd say they're worried other trailers like this could be on the road, though.
They've had to basically start from scratch, and they couldn't get Scott to help.
A $7,500 purchase led to damages of at least $29,000, they say.
They filed a lawsuit against Scott and Ttocs, accusing them of breach of contract and fraud.
We reached out to Scott, but haven't heard back yet.
Trailer turns tiny home dream into legal nightmare
'He just said this was a Frankenstein dead horse.'
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