A Message to Whoever Reported my Tiny House to Code Enforcement

Robin Greenfield standing by his window inside his tiny house.
A Fresh PerspectiveAlternative HomesConsciousnessFloridaPersonalTiny Home Living

A message to whoever reported my tiny house to the city…
And to all of you…

Why did I move out of my tiny house before completing my year of Food Freedom?
That’s something that a few of you have asked and I’m sure many more have wondered.
Ultimately it’s because my tiny house was reported to the city…
In early August, while I was away in Wisconsin, I received a visit from code enforcement. Somebody had reported my tiny house and now I had a problem on my hands. I could either get the “shed” permitted or I’d have to take it down. It was a stressful situation, especially because I was over 1,500 miles away and wasn’t planning to come back for another one to two months. I did a lot of research and went back and forth many times. At first I thought I couldn’t get the shed permitted, then I thought I could, then I realized I couldn’t (and maybe a few more of those flips in between).

I did originally design the house as a shed so that it could get permitted as a shed if needed, but ultimately there were a few minor things that I don’t think would have passed. Plus it would have cost me around $1,000 to permit, when I only spent $1,500 to build it. So permitting wasn’t an option… I tried really hard to get an extension until mid-November, when I already had planned to leave Orlando after my two years here. But I didn’t get the city to budge.

I always knew this could happen, because it’s not technically legal to live in a shed. I didn’t exactly hide though. I had almost every major Orlando media outlet over at my house this year. My life doesn’t fall into all the city codes. I follow Earth code first and foremost, making sure to live in a manner that improves the world around me and doesn’t harm others. But that doesn’t always work perfectly in my favor.

I got back to Orlando from Wisconsin on October 4th and had to have the house down by the next week in order to avoid going to the city court (not a big deal but something I wanted to avoid). Whenever a difficult situation comes upon me I always ask myself how I can turn the situation into something positive. So I came up with the idea of donating the tiny house to Sustainable Kashi community where it would be used in their eco village to house volunteers as well as serve as a little classroom. It would get far more use there, rather than staying in the backyard where I built it. They were planning to build tiny houses already so this would save them money, time and resources and they’d come and help me take it down and move it.

This also helped me to realize I wanted to be done with Orlando and be somewhere more peaceful for my last few months. My time in Northern Wisconsin was an inspiration to spend more time in quiet nature and out of the city. So that’s exactly what I did. I moved the tiny house and have been staying at Sustainable Kashi for the last few weeks in one of their communal houses.

So, to whoever reported my tiny house to the city, I have you to thank. Thank you for helping this tiny house to fulfill a greater purpose. Thank you for encouraging me to get out of the city and be in a more peaceful place. You have improved my quality of life and that of others too.

I harbor no ill feelings to you (or the city), only gratitude and joy.

Thank you!


Photo by Sierra Ford Photography

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