Florida city to evict widow for ‘living off the grid’; cites ‘international code’

A Cape Coral woman featured on a local television program talking about how she lives without running water or electricity learned about the downside of fame a day after the story aired.

A code enforcement officer showed up at her house with a placard ordering the premises vacated as “uninhabitable,” according to Fox affiliate WFTX Channel 4.

offthegrid1215newerAccording to the station, Robin Speronis appeared on the station in November in a feature called “Living Off the Grid.”

The notion of a home without electricity or running water got Speronis into hot water with the Cape Coral authorities.

“A code enforcement officer came, knocked on the door then posts a placard that says uninhabitable property, do not enter,” Robin told the station.

According to WFTX, the notice cites international property maintenance code calling the home unsafe to live in. But how can a code enforcement officer who’s never been in the home know whether it’s unsafe or not?

The notice cites international property maintenance code and states the property is unsafe to be lived in, but Robin wonders how code enforcement would know without ever having been inside the home.

And that’s not to mention exactly what an international property maintenance code has to do with Cape Coral, Fla., housing case. According to WFTX, a city official said the home is uninhabitable because it lacks running water and electricity, though neither is listed in the international ordinance the city cited.

(If the international community is  going to start evicting people from homes worldwide because they lack electricity and running water there’s going to be a fair number of people on the move before too long. Better hope they’re not coming to the Caloosahatchee.)

Speronis told the station a local attorney is taking her case for free – and the city is apparently willing to forget the whole thing if Speronis can show the home actually is safe to live in, WFTX reports.

Speronis wishes the whole case never came up.

“Where is the justice? Why did they choose me?” she said. “Because I was exercising my First Amendment rights of free speech in discussing living off the grid.”

A local attorney has since agreed to take on Robin’s case for free. And the city says if she can prove she can sustain herself and her home without water or electricty both parties might be able to come to a solution.

Check out the WFTX report here. It’s worth a look.

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