Yarker family seeks community support after alleged tiny home seller scam

Just one of dozens of photos the Martinez family supplied of their ‘tiny home’ built by Green Terra Homes in 2017. The family has lived in the home since, in terrible conditions due to the poor construction and lack of proper sealing and insulation.

It’s been over a year since the Martinez family was supposed to move into their perfect, cozy dream home in Yarker, just north of Kingston, but since then, the house has been nothing but a nightmare.

“We have been trying to fight with Green Terra Homes since back in 2016 when we signed our contract,” said Joselyn Barrera, who, like dozens of others across Canada and the US, claims her family was scammed by the tiny homes seller.

“We were supposed to have our dream-come-true home, [but] December 2017 is when we moved in to the unfinished home because Green Terra Homes had failed on every single thing.”

Barrera said her headaches with Green Terra Homes began just after she and her husband, Max Martinez, signed the contract for a home for themselves and their three children. Green Terra Homes, a Trenton-based home seller which declared bankruptcy in January of this year, touted themselves as being a tiny home supplier providing prefabricated environmentally friendly, affordable and durable homes. What the company delivered to the Martinez family – like many others – was none of that.

Instead, the Martinez family received an unsafe, steel frame house that was never completed. The work that had been done on the house was shoddy at best: there is poor insulation in the roof and walls; there is water damage everywhere due to lack of proper sealing and installation of windows and doors; the little shelter providing by the siding diminishes as that siding comes off in the wind; the steel beams of the house themselves are bending; and the whole house tilts after having been improperly placed on its foundation. Barrera said that not only did Green Terra Homes provide a home created with sub-par construction as well as used and refurbished parts, the company also charged them extra fees along the way. The family has spent about $145,000 repairing their house, which they’d originally spent $135,000 on.

And that’s not even the worst part for Barrera and Martinez.

What’s worse is that their family is suffering physically from living in the house.

“Our family has been affected by having snow and ice forming into our home due to no insolation and the walls are cracked and not even properly put on,” Barrera said.

“The kids have been getting very sick, and we’re using extra heaters in the bedrooms to be able to pass the winter… We have no clue if this house is even safe to be in.”

With their life savings seemingly gone – the family has filed a lawsuit, but with the company having filed bankruptcy for close to $5 million, it is unlikely they’ll get any of their money back – the financial strain has only compounded the situation, Barrera expressed.

“Stress has been our main problem. We’re living pay cheque by paycheque with no extra money to be able to fix anything in the house,” she said.

“Right now, we have been up to the max on every credit cards, and our bills, and trying to catch up due to… the debt Green Terra Homes has left us.”

Seeing the family struggle, a friend decided to create a GoFundMe campaign in an attempt to right the situation made wrong at the hands of Terra Green Homes.

“Now we would like to ask to community for a big help,” said Barrera, noting that they’re hoping to use the monies raised to complete some large renovations that desperately need to be done.

“I have nothing but hope to keep fighting for this for my family and kids.”

To find out more about the situation, or to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign in support of the Martinez family, click here.

 

With files from Nour Mazloum.

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  1. David J Warren March 17, 2019

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