Lafayette family living in their backyard says the city is forcing them out

City has deemed home uninhabitable
Posted at 10:49 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 00:51:00-04

LAFAYETTE, Colo. -- A Lafayette family has been living in a van in their backyard since June after an electric fire deemed their home uninhabitable, but now the city says they have to leave.  

"This is where I sleep - right here. This is my seat," said homeowner Marilyn Minor while showing the van to Denver7. "Charity sleeps right there and she puts her feet up there. Wayne sleeps in the very back -- he's the smallest."

Minor, 70, said the family is just trying to survive.

"Dirty clothes here, clean clothes here. This is where we store our food," said her son, Doug Minor.

"This isn't the way we want to be, it just isn't," said Marilyn.

The city of Lafayette said the family living in their backyard violates city ordinance because the family's home has been deemed uninhabitable. Therefore they can't live anywhere on the property until several inspections are passed, the city says.

The family said they know they are breaking the law, but have nowhere else to go.  

Marilyn said it's been one nightmare after another.

"I just want my house back, you know, that's all. I felt like I had 'stupid' written across my forehead," she said.

Marilyn said they had two contractors rip them off and steal thousands of dollars. Once the insurance money dried up, the family said they had nowhere else to go but their backyard.

"Why can't I live on the property that I pay taxes for and where I pay the mortgage, you know, why can't I?" she said.

The city said it has received several complaints from neighbors about the mess, but others said they feel for the family.

"They shouldn't have to be anywhere else, this is their house," said neighbor Darla Joha.

For the Minors, they said this is all they have left.

"I'll go down fighting, I will go down fighting -- this is my home," said Marilyn.

The family said they hope to bring the home up to standards in the next few weeks.

They're also due back in court next week, where they could face additional fines for continuing to live on the property.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for their house repairs.


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.