Giovanna Trabasso  /   03/08/2021

How to Avoid Making Your Off-Grid Home Illegal

Many people think that once they buy land, they can do whatever they want to it. That’s not entirely true. While the property is yours and you are free to choose what you do with it, there are laws you must follow. The quickest way to figure out what can be done with your property is to make sure you understand the zoning. The zoning of your property will determine what or can’t be built or done to it. As sustainable living becomes more and more popular, so does off-grid living. Many are looking into saving some bucks and the environment. But is off-grid living illegal?

Off-grid living at its core is perfectly legal. You’re allowed to generate your own energy source, grow your own food, raise livestock. Unlike what many think, not being connected to any power grid is also completely legal. When does off-grid living become illegal? When you fail to understand the zoning of your property. It all comes down to location and zoning.

Find a location that is off-grid-friendly

It all comes down to the county your property is located. Some counties do not allow for your property to be completely disconnected from utilities. If your plan is to be completely off-grid, you must know the laws of your county. When it comes to water and energy, there can be no negotiating. The county you currently live in can require every property to be hooked up to the city’s water and power system. If that’s the case, you might need to move in order to take your home off-grid. Most importantly, your septic system! For your own safety and to abide by your county’s rules, hire contractors to build your septic system. This is not one you want to construct on your own without a permit.

Size is also an important factor, the size of your lot and your home. In rural areas, minimum lot sizes are larger than in urban areas. When going off-grid, keeping things small makes it all easier. This is why so many people living off-grid choose to live in a tiny home. You might buy a large property with plans of parceling your lot, but that requires the approval of the county. But that’s not all. Depending on zoning restrictions, there is minimum square footage your house must meet. Remember, the bigger the property and home, to more will you have to supply to maintain your off-grid lifestyle.

Plan ahead what home style you want

Going off-grid is a long-term plan for most, and so should be your home. When building your home, plan so that you have somewhere else to live before it’s finished. Long-term camping is illegal in most states in the United States, even if you own the property. If you wish to move to your property instantly while you build your home, you might get in trouble if camping.

Of course, when living off-grid you’re farming and raising your own food. You might see this as a means of extra income by selling your surplus. First and foremost, in order to protect your own business, be sure to be aware of what comes with running a farming business. But again, know the rules of your county. If you plan on selling your products, look into getting a permit. If you wish to raise livestock, your property’s zoning must allow it. In case that livestock is one of your main goals, look for properties zoned agricultural.

Moving off-grid comes with so many rewards. The challenges quickly become small obstacles that can be overcome in creative ways. By planning ahead, you can have the off-grid home of your dreams sooner than you’d think! Put in the work, do your research, and know your challenges. In no time, you’ll be making your own rules.

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