Why is it Illegal to Live off the Grid?

This past decade we have seen housing cost rise. Property values have increased as well as rental costs and the cost of living across the United States. While these costs have begun to mount, many are looking for more affordable housing opportunities. Among this growing situation has risen the tiny house nation and other nomadic or mobile housing opportunities. The most extreme is that of living off the grid. While it seems intriguing can you live off the grid legally?


City Ordinances and Zoning Issues

The biggest hurdle to off-grid living is the local law. The local law governs many aspects of its citizen’s lives including what types of homes and living structures are permitted. There are certain home size restrictions and building codes, your property must comply with. Additionally, there are rules about camping on your property for extended amounts of time. In order to combat these barriers, be sure to check out your local laws or discuss your options with the office that handles building codes and enforcement.

Rainwater Collection

When it comes to toileting, showering, gardening, and cooking, water is important. How you get water to your off-grid property could make your place illegal. For those wishing to live off what the land provides you, collecting rainwater may be your thought. This, however, is illegal in most states. Additionally, there may be local laws and ordinances that require you to be hooked up to their provided source. To get around this you can have a well on built on your property. You can also hook up to natural water sources.


Another barrier to living off-grid is waste management. In almost every town and city, there are strict guidelines on disposing of waste. At the very least your property will need a proper septic system. The system must meet specific standards and gain approval. The system must adequately account for grey waste, human waste, and trash waste. Make sure your property is properly hooked up while you live off-the-grid. You can also check to see if composting toilets are acceptable by checking with the proper city officials.

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