Reporting Tiny Houses To The City…. There’s App For That

Today I was researching codes and zoning when I discovered Charlotte now has an app for reporting public nuisances.  You can snap a photo, mark the location on a map, then send it the complaint anonymously.  You can see it at



For those of you who don’t know, I blog to you from Charlotte, NC; A decent sized city in the south with around 2 million people.  It’s a great place, it has a lot to do, not a lot of traffic, good jobs, and while ranked 17th largest city in the US, I can still find a multi-acre lots here.

Well Charlotte is also a very difficult place to be a tiny house person, with the city growing by 40,000 people every year, our code enforcement and zoning are very busy, leaving little time to entertain the idea of a variance for tiny houses.  Between strict codes that are difficult to get variances on and a most of Charlotte’s housing under HOA’s, its a tough place for tiny houses.

So I thought I’d share this new innovation that cities are taking up.

If you want to know more about how codes affect you, check out our ebook: cracking the code!  here


Your Turn!

  • What do you think of this app?
  • Have you talked with your local code enforcement about tiny houses?
  1. Is there a choice for urban blight or seemingly neglected government subsidized housing structure? Just wondering.

    • Or what about a choice for terrible vinyl siding row housing for miles?

  2. I’m confused as to how this helps tiny house people. You said on FB it was a way of reporting illegal tiny houses. Why would one want to do that and couldn’t that be used by anti-tiny house people to report tinyhousers?

    • No, I’m not saying its a good thing. I am not saying you’d want this, but just wanted to show that there was this app so that people who be aware that this is going on.

      In the end I think it comes down to being a good neighbor and talking to people 🙂

  3. Nearly moved there about a year ago and decided against it for the fact that we really didn’t feel that people were cohesive within neighborhoods nor was there a notable sense of city or regional responsibility/cooperation. Seeing this, I guess not. Officially sanctioned (perhaps a quest for?)ratting without mention of cooperatively settling things with a neighbor. In fact, forget neighbor, just spend your Sunday afternoons driving around anywhere in town, finding things to complain about. Swell. Just swell. Sure glad we didn’t end up there.

  4. It’s appalling and just another step to turn neighbor against neighbor and let the squeaky wheel cry legally. They save on bylaw enforcement officers by having Joe Miserable do the complaining and then they have no problem investigating. And yes, gentlemen, municipalities do not hold themselves to the standard they expect you to. Oh yes, you can do it incognito so no one is held responsible to their friends they are screwing with.
    I had a little jerk as a competitor once and his reasoning was just toss a complaint to the licensing officials, governing body of your profession, and ties you up explaining and proving your compliance. When I closed my Manufacturing home sales business down and licensed real-estate, he complained to the board I preformed an action against the real-estate act. The boards investigator came to my office and started to lord it over me and that lasted about two seconds after he mentioned who put the complaint in. In those days they had to tell you, there was no third party complaining going on.
    The investigator also wore a bit of jewelry that identified him as a brother of mine in arms. I told him I identified the insignia and my affiliation with it and then told him now that he knew me a whole lot better than when he came through the door he would be well served to sit and listen to me for 5 minutes and it didn’t take long for him to realize that bringing those complaints to me instead of collecting them for toilet tissue or nose wipe would cost him time, not me. I dotted all I’s and crossed the T’s and would not respond to anything he brought without testimonies and proof through a full pre investigation and it was his time he could burn up. I then told him he had better phone the police when I leave him unattended in my office because my anatomy was going over to Mr. Mezi’s office and drag his ass all over Peach Tree Mobile Homes and string him from every branch. To save a lot of time here, I didn’t but should have and fate has a way of working things out. A few months later after watching that parasite of a little turd in human form of one, who would have no idea of who his father was, cheat seniors and gullible first buyers out of everything he could. Walked into his office, sat down and did the world a favor by dropping dead at 42, seems he didn’t have a very good heart at all. I am surprised he had one. For anyone thinking I am cold, the general senses of those who knew him was all of the same mindset where the day of reckoning comes and for him even at that young age was late.
    Oh there are people out there who I will use that app to irritate the hell out of people for the sick fun of it. But I hope they remember what happened to Bobby… Man may make the laws but Murphy rules. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a while.
    It’s BS but we started it all with making things convenient, these computers for example. Do you think for one moment if I was still in the professional world I could spew the nonsense I do without ramification? Oh age and being out of circulation has some benefits, not a heck of a lot but some, I have more freedom of expression which I exercise because I write so much, only a few read it anyway, LOL but I have fun. Regulations and bylaws have gone nuts. I carry licenses in my over stuffed with them wallet (no money because I have to pay for courses to get the license to earn less on these little regulated jobs than I paid my landscapers) these are jobs the uneducated and illiterate did and did well because you just need common sense but can’t now because they can’t pass the stupid test.
    Orson Wells was off the wall with the things he produced, ha, look at where big brother sits today, in an office waiting for one neighbor to squeal on the other (and they ensiled it by putting out those apps). And the cameras aren’t in our bedrooms yet unless we ourselves want to be kinky but I would be terrified to say it will never happen because just when you think it wouldn’t in the USA or Canada, it does. I think I am going to start a school and run a course awarding licensing to fart while walking down the street. I will make a million before people realize it’s a spoof because they now believe any absurdity has merit and by that time the governments will do methane gas studies and think it’s a good idea so there will be another a-hole tax for us to pay.
    In Canada, want to knew on someone, call revenue Canada and tell them someone is cheating on their taxes or working under the table, cheating on one of the famous taxes and a third party investigation starts and lord save you if you remain sane after fighting that one. Or have anything left because there are thousands of no nothing experts who will fight it for you at a hell of a fee and when they lose, it’s the same act with all of them “what can I tell you, I was sure we would win that one, “it’s ludicrous”. What the hell consolation is that “it’s ludicrous”, as he gets in your car and drives it to his house saying “sorry bud”. Anyway, I want to keep this short so will close now as not to take up too much of your space Ryan, good topic. But once it’s in, it stays.

  5. A handy app for those nasty curtain-twitchers. I wish we had one here for reporting water pipe leaks or really bad sections of sidewalk (can be dangerous for old people). I have the city engineering department number programmed in my phone because last year I kept seeing water leaks when I went for walks and I reported them all. I can understand wanting to report something horrible, like a pile of old furniture dumped in a park or something but this could definitely be bad for stealth housing.

  6. Well that led to some interesting rants…..

    I too am having fun with the zoning laws. With my tiny house livable (but not complete) and having my new .43 acre lot bought and paid for I am fighting to place it on the property. Variences and exclusions sanctioned industrial areas and other barriers are thrown into the path to slow me down and dissuade me from my goal. I can camp on it in my “RV” for 2 weeks then it must be moved. I guess I need to ask how far I need to move it at the next meeting. I have gone as far as to attempt to purchase a similar piece of property 7/10 of a mile away and travel between the two parcels and “camp” on first one and then the other. I have just acquired a trailer to construct my solar systems and rain water harvesting systems onto. So when I move I can take the systems along seperatly. I would like to take this weed infested lot and make it into a well maintained garden spot and lawn I simply can not see that the existance of a tiny house and these improvements as a blight on the surounding properties. Surrounding properties…. A large factory to the east a corn fiels to the west and north and a 4 lane highway to the south. I can throw a rock twice and hit a rundown trailer park to the far east of the property,Ah but they were there before the industrial corridor was declaired so they are OK. Yes I have an uphill battle on my hands and yes I will park it there regardless of whether I can live in it or not. The antiquated laws and bylaws regarding tiny houses must somehow be addressed and as long as we are a non entity we have no rights. I have been told directly my tiny house is not a house without a foundation it is not a mobile home as it was not certified by the mobilehomes manufacturing association and not an RV because it was not certified by the RV manafactiures association. We do not have a catagory and are shoved willy nilly into one of these neiches whether we fit or not. Each decision carries a diferent set of bylaws. Your “camper” (RV) must be placed in a campground. Your little mobile home must be placed in a mobile home park and you can’t be a little house because you are semi mobile. If I sound a bit flustered it is only because I am. I have been 18 months into this fight and time is running out I must live in it soon within the law or outside of it.

  7. Right after I wrote of my plite I found this from the relaxed schack site. Yet more nosey neighbors……

    Here’s the email I received from Jim Matus (a VERY TALENTED musician- check out his work at )

    BUILDING WITH SCREWS Vs. NAILS- Here’s one argument from the former….

    Here are some photos of my cabin in Conway, which I built for about $1,500.
    It’s 10′ X 12″ including the porch, inside is 8″ X 10″.
    I designed it myself and built it mostly myself with the help of a few friends and a carpenter who taught me some basics.

    The interesting back story here is that I built it 30 feet away from a stream not knowing that the law was such that it must be 200′ from a waterway.
    I had an unsuccessful battle with the local Conservation Commission and was forced to move the cabin. This all happened after a random hiker in the woods stumbled upon my cabin and made a call to the town’s building department.
    Luckily I had used screws to build it and was able to take it apart, board by board and move it up a hill to were I was able to get a permit for it.

  8. Yikes about this app. Where we live, we are just down to 2 county officials in the building department bc of layoffs and budget issues. If someone even were to complain, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of man power to do anything about it. I’m surprised that Charlotte has so many resources that they can create more work for building officials.

    • They probably need less manpower now because, someone reports, they just drive out directly and nail your tail. No need to cruise the hood anymore.

  9. Of course, this app will take on a life of its own now that it’s out there and be used by different municipalities “its technology, we can’t wait to see what is next”. I never really paid much attention to the diehard preppers but was probably one at heart long before they really started to exchange ideas on the internet and find each other. Many if not all with the TH mentality are within degrees because we are preparing to live a more de-cluttered existence, doing without and discussing ways to live off the grid and one thing I found out recently, talk about building a home underground and if you do start and not do it totally above board and pass it through the zoning authorities your reasons more than the infraction against zoning will come under scrutiny and not by local authorities… these app’s are just another tool municipalities have to see into your life without much effort. This is one more camera, now without lenses but neighbors eyes to inform authorities of your activities, have fun with that, The boogie man is watching…not such a funny LOL but watcha going to do, we invite this crap into our lives.

Leave a Reply