Widow faces eviction for 'living off the grid'

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by noZme, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. noZme

    noZme Active Member

    Messages:
    4,236
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    This lady chose a different way, but geez! I thought about putting this topic in news that makes you smile, but it is certainly not funny to her. I considered crimes in the news, but I believe she will be found to not have committed a crime. Bizarre news? Perhaps... what do you think?

    Robin Speronis of Cape Coral, FL doesn’t have a refrigerator, oven, running water or electricity at her modest home.
    And when Robin needs water, she collects it in rain barrels and uses a colloidal-silver generator to disinfect it. She cooks on a propane camping stove, and her electronics run on solar-charged batteries. In the bathroom, a camping shower solves the problem of no running water. 3 hours of sunshine heats it. Water from her rain barrel to fill the tank of the toilet and flush it as though she had running water.


    Robin’s husband died three years ago after battling a debilitating neuromuscular disease. She says navigating the costly and frustrating health-care system prompted her to unplug. “I wanted to look at every other part of my lifestyle and say, do I need this? Is this of value to me? " She made a conscious decision to live off the grid.


    Unfortunately for Robin, her decision to talk to a local TV station about off-the-grid living put her on the radar of the city of Cape Coral.

    The very next day, authorities tacked a notice to vacate the property on her door, despite the fact she owns her home free and clear and is up-to-date on her taxes. “A code-enforcement officer came, knocked on the door then posts a placard that says uninhabitable property, do not enter."


    A local attorney has decided to represent Speronis for free.


    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/widow-faces-eviction-for-living-off-the-grid/#60s1CqaorgDeXvBk.99
     
  2. Loading...


  3. Cherry

    Cherry Pie

    Messages:
    3,713
    Likes Received:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    63
    She needs a good atty and I hope one comes to her rescue pro bono. As long as it's not a huge awful hoarding situ; and it's clean and sanitary....then going off the grid is no one's business. Esp if she owns the home! BUT if the HOME is in DISREPAIR, then they could force her to vacate.
     
  4. Kimster

    Kimster Former Member

    Messages:
    58,147
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't see the problem? Is she doing anything that could cause a community cholera outbreak or something?
     
  5. Peliman

    Peliman New Member

    Messages:
    6,766
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Code enforcement...bastages

    Having dealt with some code enforcers before she might be required to have copper plumbing installed by a licenced plumber etc. Structural issues blah blah. In other words it may pass for code enforcement in the Virgin Islands but it doesn't pass in Cape Coral.
    pfffffft. She's not for enough off the grid.

    Come to think of it, if it's not written in the code then it's not a law that exist.

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/widow-faces-eviction-for-living-off-the-grid/#oDvTGqeHl803dwxD.99
     
  6. Kimster

    Kimster Former Member

    Messages:
    58,147
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It isn't a grandfathered-in code?
     
  7. oh_gal

    oh_gal New Member

    Messages:
    5,939
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I lived like this (not by choice) for over 10 years (longggg story, not worth going into). I lived in fear, every single day, that this would happen to me. I feel for this poor lady.
     
  8. Peliman

    Peliman New Member

    Messages:
    6,766
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'd say we're in a gray area here. It's not like she's renting or selling the property. I lean more toward her legal rights.

    Not knowing everything though, like the condition of the home. I've seen inspectors declare homes as dilapidated and tear the whole house down.

    The code inspector might try issuing repair orders. (which can get costly)

    Right now I'm leaning the code enforcer may have overstepped his duty.
     
  9. noZme

    noZme Active Member

    Messages:
    4,236
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Nobody wants someone in the neighborhood to detract from property values, blah, blah, blah, but this woman appears to have sanitation & appearances covered. Otherwise, wouldn't someone have already complained?

    Meanwhile:
    Data about crime rate in Cape Coral, Florida (FL): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson. And 88 Registered Sex Offenders in the city!


    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Cape-Coral-Florida.html#ixzz2nlWkz43T

    I really hope she wins big against the city & is elected mayor next year.
     
  10. mikkismom

    mikkismom Active Member

    Messages:
    3,562
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I lived in Cape Coral many years ago. The rules then were that you could not park a truck in your driveway and your grass could not be over a couple of inches!

    jmo
     
  11. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I ain't no expert but....doesn't the code say you have to have wiring that meets certain standards and plumbing that meets certain standards etc....?

    If the wiring and plumbing is fine and she just doesn't WANT to pay for electricity and city water how is that a code violation?
     
  12. cuffem

    cuffem Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I once worked with another teacher that had 2 children ages 9 and 11,she was struggling financially. Instead of using electricity(lights) she used candles in the evening. She was a good mother and I told her she should not tell this to people because they might feel it was child neglect and remove her children.
     
  13. Peliman

    Peliman New Member

    Messages:
    6,766
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well yes there are standards which change over the years. New construction would have to meet the current code. Older dwellings normally keep their old installation. A real old home may have fuses while an not so older home may have a 100 amp main breaker, then the city changes the code to all new construction must have a 250 amp main breaker.

    A buyer can buy the home as-is or ask for the electric to be brought to code.

    If the owner wishes to rent the home a certificate of occupancy applies and the code inspector will order all electrical and plumbing to code.

    I don't think owners would be required to change to code every time the city changes it unless it becomes a danger.

    It's been reported the city code does not require water and electric, so I don't think they can enforce it if the law doesn't exist.

    2nd - If she doesn't use the water and electric, what difference does it make what the condition of the electric and plumbing is. IMO

    On the other hand, could someone pitch a tent in her back yard and live in it?
     
  14. Ausgirl

    Ausgirl Enough Is Enough!

    Messages:
    6,481
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Land of the free.

    LOL.
     
  15. SwampMama

    SwampMama Insomniac Extraordinaire

    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am completely on the widow's side on this. She is not committing any crime or endangering anyone and her house certainly isn't "unlivable". There are millions of people throughout the world who don't have electricity or utilities.

    This whole story is infuriating and one big reason why I moved to the boonies. The city and their code enforcement agents get all up in your business telling you how to live on property that you own and have paid for.

    Basically they are making it a crime to be poor and unable to afford things like electricity or whatever standards they deem as mandatory. You don't have the right to choose to live a simple life, you are forced to be connected to "the grid". Plus the utility companies are monopolies. If you don't like the way they treat you, too bad, they are your only option for utilities.

    It has been a long term goal of mine to get off the grid and to live a life on my terms and not be bound by utility companies and city codes. We have already ditched the city water system and have our own well to provide our water. If I could just get solar panels then I would be soooo happy.

    The video shows her house and it is neat, well kept and not in disrepair. I guess the city would rather see her out on the streets. They would probably like to fine her with fines that she can't afford and then put a lien on her house and take it.

    The "off the grid" movement is growing and gaining strength and popularity. I fully support people who want to live life off the grid and on their own terms.
     
  16. Peliman

    Peliman New Member

    Messages:
    6,766
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well get this!

    The city code enforcement officer cites "international code" for their justification. No due process.

    International code?

    [P] 504.3 Plumbing system hazards.
    Where it is found that a plumbing system in a structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants or the structure by reason of inadequate service, inadequate venting, cross connection, backsiphonage, improper installation, deterioration or damage or for similar reasons, the code official shall require the defects to be corrected to eliminate the hazard.

    http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/ipmc/2012/icod_ipmc_2012_5_sec004.htm?bu=IC-P-2012-000010

    SECTION 604 ELECTRICAL FACILITIES

    604.1 Facilities required.
    Every occupied building shall be provided with an electrical system in compliance with the requirements of this section and Section 605.

    604.2 Service.
    The size and usage of appliances and equipment shall serve as a basis for determining the need for additional facilities in accordance with NFPA 70. Dwelling units shall be served by a three-wire, 120/240 volt, single-phase electrical service having a minimum rating of 60 amperes.

    604.3 Electrical system hazards.
    Where it is found that the electrical system in a structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants or the structure by reason of inadequate service, improper fusing, insufficient receptacle and lighting outlets, improper wiring or installation, deterioration or damage, or for similar reasons, the code official shall require the defects to be corrected to eliminate the hazard.

    http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/ipmc/2012/icod_ipmc_2012_6_sec004.htm?bu=IC-P-2012-000010
     
  17. FigTree

    FigTree New Member

    Messages:
    3,432
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I hope she wins big!

    .
     
  18. 21merc7

    21merc7 New Member

    Messages:
    10,491
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm all for the lady living the way she wants to. Even if it is old country style and a difficult way to go. It is good to know it can still be done!

    However, living within city limits, she may be violating certain codes as Peliman located above. I know that anyone living in a house, even if it is completely theirs and taxes are paid, must have running water (health code violation not to). Not sure about the electricity having to be on here, but if your house burns and another catches due to not maintaining it properly, obviously you get stuck with paying for both houses, and hope nobody is injured or dies.

    If you have to live this way in the city due to lack of finances, do not let anyone know. Especially people that may not like you. They can call it in to the health department.

    Too bad she is within city limits and not out in the country somewhere.
     
  19. TracyLynnS

    TracyLynnS New Member

    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't know anything about their codes and laws, but once the city water department realizes that she's bathing, cooking, using collected water to flush the toilet, etc, and not paying sewerage fees (I assume, since she doesn't appear to have a water bill), they'll probably be coming after her too. :(
     
  20. Cherry

    Cherry Pie

    Messages:
    3,713
    Likes Received:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    63
    It's bizarre. You know; plenty of older homes have cisterns and can be used still. I HAVE ONE, and I'll use it when and if I like.

    Man; everyone in Gov has become so PC that they've gone off the rails. And Crashed!

    As long as her home isn't a hoarding situ and all is in good working order, she doesn't HAVE to pay anything but her taxes on that house. She doesn't HV to have city water. She can even use well if she wants....the city cannot make you hook up to them...and neither can gas or electric.

    I'd sue sue sue until the cows come home!!
     
  21. SwampMama

    SwampMama Insomniac Extraordinaire

    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    BBM. I completely agree with you but these "code enforcement" people can (and have) rendered her house as unlivable due to the lack of utilities. They can (and will) create all kinds of little violations that can add up to big expenses for this lady. They can have her evicted, condemn the house, declare it a hazard or something like that. This is why I hated city life.

    She says that she collects rainwater but did you know that collecting rainwater is actually illegal and a crime in some areas. Crazy!! http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html

    I was talking with hubby about these code people and we cracked up laughing at the thought of any city officials trying to put a lien on our house because there is no title to it, it doesn't exist in court records, no deed, we don't even pay taxes on it and we like it like that. We paid cash for it, jacked it up and moved it to our property. It is a 600 sq ft woodframe house that we got for less that $5000 because it had to be moved from the property where it was. My hubby moved it himself and I am danged proud of him for that!!

    I understand where this widow is coming from. I went thru a serious illness and ended up not being able to continue working and dealt with massive medical bills, no income and no insurance. At that time I had a mortgage, a young child, debts to pay and I worried every night about losing it all.

    I was very determined to convert to a simpler life that I could sustain no matter what. I was determined to get my expenses to be about $600 a month. We don't have cable and have only basic cell phones. I do lots of little DIY things to sustain our life here like make my own laundry detergent and reusing all kinds of things.

    Hubby and I live on family property (our portion is 20 acres) in the boonies. We do have some inconveniences such as when it rains, we have to park our vehicles up by the highway because our driveway is a half mile of mud when it rains.

    We can't afford to pave half a mile of driveway and we'll be danged if we allow the city to pave it because they would claim it as theirs then and it would no longer be our private property. We use the 4 wheeler to go back and forth on rainy days. But I'm not complaining because The benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences of our life here.

    I really like that a lot of people are going for a simpler life, building tiny houses and homesteading and creating a life for themselves without being so dependent on cities. But cities hate this and have regulations about the size of house you build and such. People are wanting to be able to fend for themselves and provide for their families like they used to in the old days.

    A major disaster could hit us and hubby and I would be ok. He can fix anything and doesn't know the meaning of the word "can't". I am very secure in the knowledge that my hubby can do what it takes to survive, including providing food. People in the country seem to have a better grasp on having useful skills for survival. We can make it work.

    But city people are dependent on their electricity and city services and things can go bad pretty quickly when those services fail (such as times like hurricane Katrina). They are pretty clueless about what to do and don't have many options.

    We were without electricity for over a week during the last 2 major hurricanes and we survived just fine. Our community works together. there was no looting or stealing, no waiting for the gov't to come and save us. Farmers got their tractors out and we cleared our own roads, hubby (and others) took his 4 wheeler and rode the electrical lines so they could report to the electric company where the damage was so it could be fixed quicker. We all bathed in our pools, in rain water or at a shower that Hubby rigged up using a fire truck and some tarps (great water pressure, lol!).

    Ok, enough of my rant. I just really support this lady and respect her living her life and not depending on the government and expecting all kinds of welfare and benefits. She learned to live without stuff or do it herself rather than feeling entitled and feeling that the govt should provide for her. She isn't bothering anyone or endangering anyone. I suspect we are going to see more and more of these cases as people go off the grid and I expect the cities will react with more laws and regulations about how people can and cannot live.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice