Big problems for Vista tiny home community

Investors want their money back
Posted at 2:34 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 22:54:36-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Several North County residents want their money back from a failed Tiny Home community.  

Vista resident Greg Dutton said he and a handful of others simply want their $1,000 investments back from Janet Ashforth, the brains behind Habitats Tiny Homes, which was planned for a plot of land between Escondido and Poway.

“Sounded like a great idea,” said Dutton.  “A whole bunch of tiny homes.  Community garden.  Community clubhouse.”

His excitement turned to frustration when he didn’t like the property Ashforth secured.

“Really hard to get to.  Hardly any access roads,” he said.

Dutton said Ashforth promised to refund his money if he didn’t like the property. However, Dutton requested the refund after Ashforth went into escrow for the property. He showed an email apparently from Ashforth saying he was too late to ask for the refund but she’d return the money anyway.

Dutton still hasn’t received his refund. He and several other investors have filed claims at the Courthouse in Vista.

10News spoke with Ashforth by phone. She said the project failed “when 30 people didn’t follow through and now they’re expecting their money back.”  

She explained none of her investors ordered their tiny homes or took the next steps to keep the project alive.

She argued, “The receipt clearly says you can get your deposit back until we open escrow on the property.”  

Ashforth said Dutton requested after escrow opened.

“I apologize,” she continued. “However, you should take responsibility for the receipt. I don’t have the money to give back because it was invested in the $400,000 property we’re now trying to sell.”

Ashforth said she’ll gladly appear in court but admits the money is wrapped up in an empty plot of land.