Is it Illegal to live off the Grid? – 5 Best US States for Off-Grid Living

Living off the grid is not a new concept. Many people have tried to build homesteads that are completely off the grid. These are homesteads that are not only independent but also self-efficient and clean.

It involves living completely away from the power grid of the country.

Even though this concept has been around for many years, people have only started to consider it in the recent past.

This new interest in this concept is caused by different factors such as riots, outbreaks such as COVID-19, economic instabilities, and many more.

But there are very important questions that you have to ask yourself before you decide to live off the grid.

So, is it illegal to live off the grid? The short answer is that it is legal and some states encourage it.

But there are laws that you have to follow even if you live off the grid. But a short answer does not explain every aspect of living off the grid.

We have prepared this article to help you understand this amazing concept much better. By the end of this post, you will have all the knowledge you need regarding living off the grid in The States.

Is Off The Grid Living Illegal?

Is Off-Grid Living Illegal?

You might hear about people who have been prosecuted for living off the grid. To be honest, this might bring around some confusion.

But the truth is that living off the grid, by itself, is completely legal. It is a concept that goes hand in hand with personal freedom as a principle.

But if someone has been prohibited from living off the grid, it is because of different reasons such as failure to pay taxes, squatting, and other such reasons.

Where Living Off-Grid is Illegal

It is generally not illegal to live off the grid in the United States. However, in some of these places, it would be somewhat impossible to live off the grid and be self-sufficient completely.

1. New York

New York is a beautiful city. But the city has a large population and is known the cost of land per acre is very high. The property tax rate is also very high.

Even though you might want to live and build in New York, the laws and regulations for building are very strict. You should expect some problems when building.

2. Illinois

The northern part of Illinois has a dense population and the entire land is one of the most expensive in America. The harsh wind and strict building regulations make it a bad place for living off the grid.

3. Hawaii

Even though Hawaii is beautiful, it is very expensive and the general cost of living is just as expensive. In regards to building, the rules are also very strict and you should expect to get some problems when building.

4. Alaska

The cost of living in Alaska is very high. Some of the utilities such as electricity, gas, and water, are more expensive than the average cost.

No homesteading programs are available in Alaska. Even though you can live off-grid, it would be after approval by authorities.

The Top US States for Off The Grid Living

The top US States for Off the Grid Living

You need to know that there are states that encourage you to live off the grid. In these states, you will get a high standard of living should you choose to live off the grid.

Everyone has their preference, which is one of the reasons why you would go for one over another. Nevertheless, you will see reasons why each place is preferred by people for this type of lifestyle.

1. Missouri

Even though Missouri might not be a tropical paradise, it has amazing lake communities such as the Ozarks. Rainwater collection and fishing are legal, which is one of the reasons why it is preferred.

The state features regular rainfall and affordable taxes, which makes it easy to live away from society.

You will also find no septic system requirements in this state.

2. Alabama

Alabama is not very popular when it comes to off-grid living. That is mainly because there is a very small community that is living off the grid.

However, it is an ideal location because of the low property taxes as well as the low living cost. You will also love that several counties in Alabama do not have building codes.

You can build and live freely on the land you purchase.

You, however, need to know that the state might get warmer than many others and there are chances of tornadoes and hurricanes. To avoid these, it is recommended that you purchase land far from the coast.

3. Tennessee

Tennessee is a great place for all seasons, especially the rural areas. The rural areas are perfect for those who would like to live off the grid.

You will enjoy that the property taxes and the cost of living are very low compared to other places in the country. The rainwater collection and farming laws are also lenient.

People have the freedom to build and develop their lands as they would like, thanks to the limited building codes of the county.

The only thing you need to be alert for is the tornado warnings. Other than that, it is an ideal state for living off the grid.

4. Georgia

This is another perfect state of living off-grid. Some of the reasons for that include the amazing landscape for gardens, as well as the mild weather conditions.

You can farm as much as you want and the cost of living is simply average.

Before you purchase land, you should check all the local regulations because there are specific counties that have strict laws. Treutlen County, for instance, is perfect because there are no building codes.

5. Texas

It is a bit surprising for most people that Texas is perfect for living off the grid. It features affordable lands that are not developed, making them perfect for small homesteads.

The growing season is long in most of the regions, which makes it easy for you to provide for yourself. The desert regions, however, do not have natural water resources, which makes them less friendly.

It is harder to hunt or fish in such areas for that reason.

We advise against sacrificing great landscape for cheaper land if you are considering Texas.

If you want to know more about the US States for off-grid Living. Click here.

Off-Grid Living Laws That You Must Know

Off-Grid Living Laws That You Must Know

As you might already know, even though you will live off the grid, you have to abide by some laws.

These laws are meant to make sure that even though you live off the grid, you will not be affecting the nature of the rest of society in any way. So, which are some of these laws? Let’s take a look.

Zoning Restriction Codes

Zoning codes are meant to regulate real estate development. Their purpose is to help manage how an area affects the heat, safety, and financial values of its citizens.

Under these restriction codes, there is a restriction of the square footage you can own. There are also restrictions on the height and size of the buildings you build.

Building Codes

Some states have restrictions on the standards you should follow when building a home or log cabin. It is possible to confuse the zoning restriction and building codes because of this fact.

Building codes also help protect the citizens by making sure that they are safe in the building being built.

However, there is a difference between the two codes because building codes are almost similar in all states that have these codes. Zoning codes, however, might differ in most aspects and are stricter.

Level Water and Sanitation Requirements

These requirements are important for your health and sanitation.

The truth is that the entire reason for living off the grid is to become self-sufficient and have everything you need, including water. In some counties, you must hook up to the water provided by the city.

In others, however, you can choose to have your water well or use the city water. Normally, the fee for hooking to the water from the city might be a bit expensive.

Composting Toilet Codes

The regulations for composting toilets might vary from one state to another. You will even find some of the states that do not have such codes.

In most cases, these regulations are not for homesteads that have flush toilets. You would need some permission to install a different waste system that is not a sewer or septic system.

Some states allow you to have composting toilets. However, you would require manufactured types that are NSF-certified.

Solar Energy Regulations

Not all states consider it illegal to disconnect from power grids. In some, it is illegal and you might get fined for using a solar system.

Some states, such as Alaska, have micro-grid laws that make it possible for households to be utility providers so that they can disconnect from the electric grid.

In some areas, however, it might be even harder to use solar energy because daylight is limited during the winter. In some, like Arkansas, it is perfectly legal and it is the main reason why more people live off the grid.

Environmental Regulations/How to Process Waste

One of the government-provided services that are taken for granted is waste disposal. How do you intend to process waste?

You need to know that the use of human waste as manure is still not accepted properly in many states. Even if it is for personal consumption, you will have a very hard time convincing anyone that it is okay.

It won’t work if you decide to toss your waste anywhere you want. If you can show that you have a system that does not violate the environment, then you should be okay.

Community Nuisance Laws

These are laws meant to deal with activities that might risk the safety and health of the public. These include hazardous waste, excessive noise, or even criminal activities.

If people are found breaking these laws, by for instance having a loud party, you will normally face a certain penalty, mostly as a fine.

But these laws might be different in regards to the severity from one state to another. Losing housing is one severe penalty.

Livestock and Selling your Produce

If you are living in a rural area and you build a certain zoned-off land for agriculture, you should be fine. In such places, you can keep chickens, cows, goats, pigs, even horses.

The closer you are to the city, the stricter these laws become. You cannot sell the surplus produce like you would with excess energy.

It would only be possible if you had some health inspections and permits. Otherwise, you should be ready to preserve the surplus you cannot eat.

Disconnecting from the Power Grid Entirely

Most rural areas will not allow residents to cut off from the power grid. When it comes to major cities, it is completely illegal. If you want to navigate the power supply, you can do so with solar power.

Some counties have solar grid options that allow you to sell the power you generate to your city.

You will not be cut off from the electric lines. You will simply sell the excess energy to the city so that the electricity bill is reduced.

Property Covenants if Any

In regards to land and property use, a restrictive covenant is normally a promise by the landowner not to do something on the land or property. It is an obligation of the owner not to do certain activities on their land or property.

Considerations to make when choosing a place to live

Considerations to make when choosing a place to live

Before you decide to live off-grid in a certain place, you have to think about certain considerations. Each state in America has a difference in regards to what residents who live off the grid are offered.

You have to go through the important aspects of your needs and use them to make a good decision.

Local laws and regulations

Off-grid living can be completely hard if the laws and regulations are strict.

When a state wants to discourage off-grid living, the imposed laws are made harsher and your ability to access sewer systems and the electrical grid is limited.

Weather and Climate

Everyone has some ideal weather and climate preference. You should do some research and decide which state has the ideal climate.

Some areas are also more likely to have possible disasters like tornadoes, wildfires, and flooding.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in most populated places is high, which is to be expected. If you want to live off the grid, you should be willing and able to afford it.

After all, you will require all the standard utilities and might have to pay for them.

Water Availability

Clean water is very important for off-grid living.

You might not be provided access to the city water, in which case, the place should have a source of natural water or it should be legal to haul water.

You should also consider the water collection resources needed.

Energy Availability

You will be disconnected from the power grid, which means you should be able to generate your electricity. It should be legal to install such energy-generating systems for running all your appliances.

If it is, you should prepare to get some solar panels or even turbines.

The Area’s Community

The main purpose of living off the grid is to be peaceful without many disruptions. The community around you might affect that peace greatly.

It would not be advisable to live off the grid in a place that might be prone to problems such as crime.

Ease of Growing Food

Since you need to be self-sustainable, it would be a good idea if you can grow your food.

Having a personal garden or a greenhouse is a very important part of that. You also need to learn how to grow and preserve any of your excess food.

Off-Grid Living: How to Plan and Execute

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Off Grid Living: How to Plan and Execute Living off the Grid (Shelter, Water, Energy, Heat, and More)
  • Press, Barton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 163 Pages - 11/29/2020 (Publication Date) - More Books LLC (Publisher)

FAQs

Is it legal to camp on your land?

Camping on your land is not allowed in most states. This is mainly because it might lead to deterioration of the cost of land around you.

Is it legal to live completely off the grid?

As you decide to live off the grid, you should be ready to follow the laws set for that place. You should know that different states have different laws regarding living off the grid. We recommend that you consider the laws of a specific state first. 

What states allow off-grid living?

Off-grid living is not illegal. The only problem is that you might face different laws that make it hard for you to do so. We advise considering such laws and regulations before deciding which state to live off the grid.

Conclusion

Most of us have thought about living off the grid but very few of us know the exact laws that regulate living off the grid.

I have thought about living off the grid and I am constantly learning these laws as I decide which place is best to live. I hope that you will find the place that is perfect for you. Good luck!