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States With Laws (and What They Are) About Living Off The Grid

Living off the grid sparks legislative action from several states

Living off the grid has its benefits but it also has its drawbacks.

Many individuals who are seeking to go completely off the grid are being met with extreme opposition by the government.

I find this interesting as the government has signed legislation concerning the “green” practices of industry.

It appears that yet again, the government wants to regulate how we can and to what extent we can exercise our freedoms.

Here are a few states which have laws concerning living off the grid.


If you are planning on going on the grid in Florida, you may want to reconsider.

The courts have ruled that living off the grid is a violation of the International Property Maintenance code.

Although all the stipulations in the code do not specifically address off the grid living, this has not stopped the courts from fining residences or from jailing certain individuals (such as Speronis) who have gone off the grid.

The governing factor in their “legitimacy” of the legislation is that the residences have to have sustainable water and electricity.

Where the residences have solar power and collect rainwater, the government has not deemed this as an adequate form of either.

North Carolina (and almost every other state)

Those which are trying to create off grid homes from materials which are not commercially based may find that the local authorities will not be too happy about it.

In fact, you are very likely to get a citation and criminal charges for building a structure that “endangers the lives of others”, “building a structure without a license”, or “constructing a building without obtaining the proper permits and meeting the regulated codes”.

In one such instance, a man who dedicated his life to showing and preserving the way of native Americans was faced with criminal charges because (after having the buildings inspected and shown to be “above code”) he did not follow the modern building codes.


Those which are living off the grid in PA will have to abide by governing fees and licensing when installing alternative energy.

Those living off the grid must:

  • Contact local government agencies to verify the ordinances of the area
  • Have a feasibility and engineering cost analysis
  • Have the renewable provider (be it wind power or solar panel) approved by the local government

Such fees have specifically been driven to regulate the wind turbines which have become popular in that area.

By making the local government the authority on which residences can use such alternative sources to energy, the greater public will be denied the licensing for such turbines, or in the best case scenario, the utility company will be given exclusive rights to provide the turbines to the public for an annual fee.


Arizona is trying to impose a tax which will allow an additional $152 per year residential tax on any resident who has solar power.

The state has over 20,000 residences with solar power and more individuals are expected to go off the grid. The state is greatly reducing the number of middle class citizens who will be able to purchase the solar arrays by imposing the tax.

ACC (Arizona Corporation Commission) has been the leader in the fight to keep the residences from having solar power. 

They have worked closely with the ALEC to dismantle any green energy.

Thankfully, most of their efforts have not shown much success.

Other Blanketed Law violations

These are just a few of the states which have implemented direct strategies against those which are living off the grid.

As more and more states will see a decline in the industrial sectors (because they cannot comply with the new “green” legislation) those which are living off the grid will be held responsible and taxed.

Fines, legislation, and hostilities to those living off the grid are apt to include:

  • Child Endangerment
  • Condemning of the property as being unsafe
  • Fines for having untreated waste on the property
  • Building and Zoning fines
  • Building without a permit
  • Stealing water
  • Stealing electricity and other resources
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Operating a business without a license (if you sell any of your goods).
  • Unlawful disposal of hazardous materials
  • If you use fertilizer then you may have the FEDs say you are a threat to Homeland Security

If you store seed and grain then the FDA may try to seize any excess seed that you may have by stating that you are operating as a farm and therefore under the same regulations that the FDA imposes upon commercial farming properties

As you can see, the government does not want you to live off of the grid.

They want to provide you with an option to purchase a semi-off the grid plan which they can tax and regulate.

Those which go completely off the grid are met with a high level of opposition from the government, resulting in finds and imprisonment.

If the government cannot target you directly for your off grid living, then the next step is that they will try to find a loophole in your family life or in your finances.

Any tax which was not paid will be seen as evasion, any illness of your children may be seen as neglect.

It is imperative that if you want to live off the grid that you take legal precautions in order to safeguard yourself from government involvement.

If the local government has zoning regulations and legislation which hinders your off grid home, then there may be federal laws which can help to bypass such laws.

You are encouraged to seek out the best options for you and your family.

Living off the grid does have its benefits and I would encourage anyone who can do so to go off the grid, but those which chose to live as such must be aware that they are doing so under the scrupulous eye of the local and sometimes federal government.

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Sovereign Survival Contributor

At Sovereign Survival, our mission is to provide the best survival knowledge to people interested in prepping. We share blog posts about tips, tricks, tactics and skills for all things related to survival and preparedness. Many of our posts are for the absolute beginner who is interested in learning about living off the grid. Other posts are more advanced and detailed posts to help the expert further their skill development. Our goal is simple: to be the best survival & prepper blog on the Internet.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 43 comments
ron bodri - June 21, 2016

i live in ontario canada and went solar and genny to avoid 500 plus dollar per mth hydro bills they condemed my house saying its not fit to live in i have running water my toilet flashes so how is that unfit why because im not adding money to some fat wallet of some greedy ceos who only care about them selves ill let you know how the court battle goes as im still in my house and have been charged with several criminal offences inc the cost of a lawyer

    Davisho42 - January 22, 2018

    Having the choice to live off grid is a matter of freedom of choice to live how we want.
    when it comes to a matter of the government losing money, that part of freedom is snatched away however. So this is not a free country.

    Cynthia Gurule - April 12, 2018

    Have you went to court yet I’m going through something similar

Lisa - September 19, 2016

Florida you are incorrect 100%.
It is not illegal to have your home 100% on solar in the state of Florida. You can have grid tied, grid tied with battery backup, and off grid or standalone. Florida Statutes 163.04 Energy devices based on renewable resources.— Florida protects the right to have solar collectors. Cap Coral case was because the homeowner lived in the city and was not using her city sewer and water. If you live in rural county all homes are on septic and well. Many cities still have homes on well water. There are MANY people living in counties in Florida off grid with solar, well and septic.

    FL Prepper - January 4, 2017

    Lisa, the Speronis) who have gone off the grid in Cape Coral Florida was not in violation other than she was flushing her waste down her toilet into the sewer, and both the sewer and water was tied to the same Utility Bill. So when she failed to pay that Bill there was the controversy. Not that she was doing anything wrong but failing not to pay her water sewer bill. She was using sewer service and not paying. That’s what got here in trouble. However is you have children living in a household without running water they may try to take your kids away. If you are a single old guy or gail…. No problem. I am one of those full off gridders in FL with Solar, well and septic.

      Bystander - February 7, 2017

      How are you off the grid if you have internet??? 🙂

        Jared Garrow - May 16, 2017

        Off the grid does not mean without internet.
        Off the grid means not sucking the teet of power companies being connected to their power grid. Having your own alternative energy and a satelite rig powered by such is in fact “off-the-grid.”

        J Bruce - May 16, 2017

        i have access to the internet with my latop using my IPHONE as my internet provider and my phone is basically my router. I chage my phone and laptop daily in my car using a power inverter,, very simple,, off grid means we are unplugged from the utility companies basically. No gas bill, no electric bill, no water bill, no sewage bill,,, i still have a phone internet car car insurance property taxes, ect.

Kate Silva - September 27, 2016

So what states are legal to be off grid – i have a 21 ft travel trailer that I want to live in on a non restricted zoning. Or where can you park a trailer for a little while and travel around. As far as i can tell it is not legal to park overnight in any place but a campsite which costs approx. $700. month.
I have 20 acres in mass with a dry cabin I lived in for about 3 months and then the town can in and condemned my cabin as unfit for human habitation. They required i board it up and i cannot even use it for storage. I am not allowed to sleep in a tent on my property, not allowed to sleep in my car and not allowed to sleep in a travel trailer on my own property.
I don’t want to make the same mistake but it seems impossible to find out where it is legal.

    Pyra - January 10, 2017

    Disobey them. They are tyrants. Your first goal is to find it within you to defy them.

    Harold - April 17, 2017

    You can park overnight in wall Mart parking lots

    Delilah Jenks - March 18, 2018

    The state where our freedoms were fought so hard for has now taken the freedoms away from the people. The powers that be want their coffers filled by all the people. This country gives each person the right to live where they please. The constitution guarantees your freedoms.

Ian - December 8, 2016

I’d like to make a good case of this article if it had legal citations from the states you got the sources from.

angela allen - January 15, 2017

I want to go off grid in Oregon. Does anyone know the laws?

Whit - April 1, 2017

Author is an in informed, misleading idiot!
While the courts have indeed ruled that “…ruled that living off the grid is a violation of the International Property Maintenance code”
He fails to inform you that this IS NOT STATE LAW!
Only a few municipalities have adopted the IPMC!
How bad is the writing?
The Arizona $152 tax not only has NO EFFECT on off grid residences, as it is for grid tied residences, but it only effects people who lease their roof tops to 3rd parties!

Tired of the Government - April 17, 2017

There are basically two ways to deal with the problems with the government. One is to work around the laws. The second is to challenge the laws directly First example would be to build a “barn” and live in it. But say you don’t if someone asks. Live in a camper. Say you don’t. Have your mail sent some place else and say THAT is your domicile. Down in my area if a local comes around and even thinks about trying to stop someone from living off the grid, they will end up 6 feet under and never found. And in the mountainous region, its easy to make a body “vanish”. The thing is. Although I don’t believe in violence. I do believe in protecting yourself. And direct bodily harm isn’t the only thing to protect. When some sellout “goon” comes around trying to tell you how to live, you need to bury their ass permanently. Then when the other people at the dept wonder what happened, they will be afraid to be the next one to go bothering someone. People need to fight the government. Literally. Those people don’t care about you. They just want your money. They dont want you to raise cattle. They want you to BE cattle. Make mince meat out of them.

    Oryan85 - May 5, 2018

    100% agree with you.. the bull shit needs to stop with the .gov. do they realize not if but when shit goes down us people whom they wronged are going to hunt them down like dogs and enjoy it.. sorry just sick of bullshit laws that better the bastards whom create them..

jeremy hansen - April 20, 2017

their behaviorist groupthink ai software braom thinks its terrorism… last time I got my propane refill….

kpg - May 19, 2017

can I build a houseboat and live aboard if I own the florida lot with nothing on it except my van. This lot is in an unfinished sub division on a dirt road that is 4×4 access only this lot has a fresh water canal connected to a overflow storm drainage lake. is canal the jurisdiction of the florida wildlife commission? Volusia county, fl is only able to enforce on land… Is this a loop hole, or is it time to start a war??? thanks fellow Patriot!

John T Underwood - October 28, 2017

There is much to be said for the old saying , “out of sight , out of mind”. I am not advocating becoming a ghost. On the other hand , if you go out of your way to rub the wrong noses in your decision to go off grid , prepare to be screwed with, not just by government, but by those who can’t stand the idea that someone else is getting away with not paying for something they have to. For obvious reasons, the powers that be don’t want people off the grid. Imagine how much they rely on 200 million homes sending them money each month. Think about what we are talking about here. The money, the infrastructure , the jobs. Don’t think for a minute they don’t have a plan b c d and e waiting in the wings to pick up the slack should the the unthinkable occur , and a technology they purchased and shelved twenty years ago makes it back to the light of day and explodes on the market. There is a reason todays “captains of energy” (industry) are in the position they are in. They are looking farther into the future than do most, it’s how they got it , it is how they keep it. So don’t fall for the argument that they have to “ease” into these changes to prevent economic collapse, (they are just concerned for our well-being…). The bottom line is, they want to ring every last penny of profit out of every drop of oil and every lump of coal, before having to invest in the next infrastructure for the next energy source. Especially if they haven’t figured out yet how they can monetize and maximize profits on said energy source.

Kurt - December 7, 2017

Florida has determined that u can not disconnect from the electrical grid & use solar or generated rechargeable means without being connected to the grid. The courts determined the electrical companies which are dependent on having your tax monies available to pay for there services to allow everyone in the state to have & maintain electricity is a necessity.
My neighbor was taking to court by Seco electric for connecting an internal generator which recharged via battery plant & provided there 3/2 2,000sqft home adequately with energy thus allowing them to discontinue the need for electric. The courts ruled they had to disconnect there generator or Face fines & jail!

Warren - February 12, 2018

What if you want to save the planet and are allergic to electricity…I’m so vegan…I can’t live in modern society as I feel the animals are being tortured for their meat and also I’m a Christian which makes me dangerous to the other members of society. Perhaps a life like doll of a small boy with some hard drugs would buy enough time to hide before caught slacking on your own land…toss and run.

Robert - May 12, 2018

Hey guys. I lived off grid for a while in austin texas in a small community. It was great for a small time. People lived in everything from tents to rvs to even teepees. When the city caught news of the place they were all over it. Code this code that and it was shut down.

I myself started with a tent and graduated to a pop up camper which i built a front deck and tiki bar on. My one gallon generator was all i needed. Would love to have seen a solar or hydro grid built in the community but it was too short lived.

Unfortunately it seems the only way to really do this is to drift. Im all about the community lifestyle but the government does not want free thinking and free living people.


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