Tiny Home Lies

In ASTM E541-10 Withdrawn, Certification, Chuck Ballard, Insurance For Tiny Homes, Pacific West Associates, Tiny Home Lies by Janet Thome

Tiny Home Lies

I do not normally engage in this type of subject, but I have actually been refraining from speaking regarding this subject for over 4 years. This has taken an amazing amount of strength not to comment and I was trying to take the high road.

I need to speak up because it has affected consumers and many  businesses.  It is time to speak up.

I believe in fair competition and gaining business by your own merits, not by trying to gain an edge over someone else by purposeful lies. All names will remain nameless.

Insurance Lies

The agency that inspects and certifies our cabins is Pacific West Associates. PWA has been unfairly targeted  by a competing inspection agency to gain an edge in the tiny home industry. They gained a relationship with an Insurance company that for a long time was exclusive with them which is actually a restriction of trade. My insurance was personally canceled almost 5 years ago after having the policy for over 2 weeks because they said my park model ( which they normally insured ) was a tiny home. Now they insure both park models and tiny homes.

After I was canceled, I was in a bit of a panic, because I needed insurance for myself and others. I went on a massive search and almost 5 years later, insurance has now become a buyers market. Every need can be fulfilled in the tiny home industry, from DIY, owner occupied, tenant occupied, Airbnbs, during construction, commercial, builders risk, etc………..

Damage Caused By The Lies

I have been so saddened by this insurance lie mainly because I have had great insurance for all this time and a lot of damage could have been avoided. Examples:

  • Just two years ago, there is a review on Yelp roasting a builder, because a customer had a loan- but no insurance
  • I have seen comments under articles with people saying ” I do not know what to do, I just had my tiny home built and I found out I cannot be insured unless I am certified by………..
  • There was a recent house fire of a DIY tiny home and the woman said” We could not get insurance because of the tiny home industry”

Called By The Competing Company

I was called by this competing company in May. I was shocked by the lies I was told. I listened carefully as I said, I believe in honest, fair competition. What makes the lies even more damaging is that they had made the rounds and spewed this purposeful disinformation to every builder of PWA, countless municipalities and at festivals and we later found out in a blog post.

Lies

  • They claimed that PWA had lost their accreditation because of a withdrawn standard. See my article ASTM E541-10.  Not true, in fact it is a bit humorous because this company which I only call an inspection company, though they say they are both an inspection and certification company cannot even meet the  ASTM standards because they have not followed the steps to become accredited by the states. They are a company that is self regulating, with no oversight. The fox guarding the hen house.
  • They claimed that they were going to be the last agency standing – all others would be shut down.
  • They claimed PWA was turned down by this insurance company. My answer was we have no need for them, I replaced them years ago. The funny thing is through the help of an amazing insurance agent, I found the app displaying PWA all ready on the app for insurance.
  • They claim their label is the door that allows people to live in their home full time. Not true

It is ironic that they claim PWA cannot meet the requirements because of the withdrawn standard because of a withdrawn standard whose requirement they could not themselves meet.

In truth, the PWA website just had not been updated reflecting the change, because they had been  traveling all over the country and working very hard to certify their customers.

Blog Post Lies

We later found out that there had been an actual blog post saying all the above lies. I have been trying to figure out why they have told everyone that their inspection process and label would allow people to live in their home full time. They make this claim at all the festivals and in every every sales pitch.

I was sent the blog post yesterday and finally I understood. Here it is:

”It is up to each local jurisdiction to determine how long you can live in your tiny home on wheels. Because …………..digitizes and stores the inspection of the build and adds structural and energy to the ………… Standard, ………………. Inspected tiny homes maybe more likely to be accepted to be lived in full time as a residence as well as to obtain proper insurance.”
Let’s dissect this claim.

Finally Some Truth

Yes, it is up to each local jurisdiction to determine how long you can live in your tiny home.

The Tired Old Insurance Claim

For the record, of all the insurance companies I have listed , there is only one company that has a certification requirement. Certification is needed usually if you are going to be living in a RV Park.

Why I Had To Speak Up

Pacific West Associates has over 30 years in the RV Industry and the President, Chuck Ballard is a principle member on 5 committees that write the codes and standards for the RV Industry. PWA has never had much of an online presence, they are busy working like the noble people they are, they have families and dreams and goals like the rest of us. Yes, sometimes it takes a few days to get back to you. They are not sitting on their phones plotting on how to get an edge on their competitor, they are out there providing their much needed service and opening doors for the rest of us.

More To The Story

There is more to the story, but this is all I can say for the moment. There might be a Part 2.

Insurance Resources

Who Is PWA?