Off-Grid Living Legal States: Top 12 States Where To Live Freely

Off-grid living is sustainable living in complete privacy with little to no human interaction. This is challenging because it means living without electricity, water, and other utilities.

The top 12 states that are best for off-grid living include:

  • Alabama
  • Missouri
  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Montana
  • Ohio
  • Arizona
  • Vermont
  • Oregon
  • North Carolina

When choosing a state, it’s important to assess the main off-grid living laws that will affect your quality of life, comfort level, and survivability. It’s important to assess each state carefully and to gauge them based on factors like land prices, weather and climate, population density, and more.

Off-Grid Living Laws To Remember

The laws for an off-grid living may vary from state to state but there are common ones that are present in most states. The most important laws you should consider in every state include:

  1. Rainwater collection laws
  2. Composting toilet codes
  3. Regulations for solar energy
  4. Laws to completely disconnect from the power grid
  5. Selling raw milk
  6. Building permits for constructing permanent dwellings
  7. Size of your home
  8. Restrictions about raising livestock (which are often indicated in your property deed)
  9. Rules on processing own waste and creating composts for biodegradable wastes

Top 12 States For Off-Grid Living

Alabama

alabama

This state is known for its smaller community of off-grid individuals. This is a good state because of the low cost of living and the affordable property tax. You can easily purchase a large plot of land at an affordable rate. This state is also liberal with its building codes so you can easily put up a survival house or a homestead.

The only issue is that it tends to get really hot during the summer which may affect your comfort levels as well as the growth of your crops. Alabama also has a higher risk of tornado and hurricane activity. You’ll need to spend some additional money to reinforce your home against these natural disasters. It’s recommended to purchase a plot of land that’s far away from the coast as it’s cheaper and will reduce the likelihood of flooding.

Take note that disconnecting from the power grid is illegal in Alabama. The cost of power is also expensive. It’s likewise illegal to disconnect from the water source or to collect rainwater. However, pit or portable toilets are allowed for as long as you secure the necessary permits.

Missouri

The main reason why Missouri is great for off-grid residents is because of the friendly environment and the vast amount of land that isn’t covered by zoning laws. The state allows homesteading and doesn’t require building permits to establish permanent homes. Off-grid electricity is legal so you can freely use solar power without getting taxed. There’s already a large group of off-grid people in this state, including the ones in Amish communities.

It’s also legal to disconnect from the municipal water source and to collect rainwater. As for personal waste disposal, composting toilets are legal while pit privies are illegal in occupied communities. The best thing to do is to install a septic tank in your location.

Georgia

Georgia is a very friendly state towards off-grid living. It has mild weather conditions that are perfect for day-to-day errands and for growing a wide range of crops. The fertile land and reasonable cost of living open endless opportunities for agriculture and farming, hence making it a good location for sustainable and independent living.

The main downside is the strict set of state laws. It’s legal to disconnect from the main electricity source but the state has poor laws that support solar grid power. Harvesting rainwater is legal but should be limited to outdoor purposes. Composting toilets are legal but highly regulated. For example, all composted wastes must be buried in the appropriate locations and shouldn’t be used as fertilizer for food crops.

Maine

Maine has agreeable state and zoning laws that support off-grid living. The land is very affordable so you can easily buy a large plot without breaking the bank. The population density is low. Even the crime rate is low which makes the state safer than most.

The land is abundant in natural resources that support independent living. These resources include water and timber. The main downside is that the growing season is shorter than in other states. However, you can just boost the crop yield per round through indoor gardening or greenhouses. Disconnecting from the main power source, collecting rainwater, and composting toilets are all legal in Maine.

Tennessee

The main reason why Tennessee is excellent for off-grid living is that it’s one of the states with the longest growing season. The growing season stretches for 260 days which means plenty of harvests and a thriving agricultural scene. The mild temperature makes living comfortable and it also fully supports a wide range of plants and animals. This state has relaxed rules about raw milk herding, rainwater collection, off-grid solar panels, and waste disposal. Even the cost of living and property tax is low.

The only downsides are the limited building codes as well as the frequent tornado warnings. Off-grid power, rainwater collection, and composting toilets are all legal. There are a few restrictions about pit privies that may require you to install a septic tank and a source of running water.

Texas

Texas is a good state for off-grid living because there is plenty of undeveloped lands that are affordable and perfect for farming and agriculture. Texas also has a long growing season which makes for higher crop yields and manageable weather. However, this state has many desert regions that lack water. It may be challenging to grow selected plants and you may face issues with your water resource. The lack of natural bodies of water also means fewer opportunities for fishing and hunting.

Off-grid electricity is legal. Many electrical companies in Texas offer mini power grid installations for small communities. Rainwater collection is also legal so residents aren’t mandated to connect to the municipal water source. Compost toilets are legal but there are stricter rules regarding pit privies. The pit privy must be situated at least 75 feet from human habitation.

Montana

Montana is an excellent state for off-grid living because of the affordable land and reasonable population density. The state laws fully support independent living and the cost of living is low. The main downside is the cold weather that may become uncomfortable and hinder the growth of select plants. The growing season is also not as long as in other states. However, the land is fertile enough to support farming and agriculture. Building a greenhouse for better gardening is highly recommended.

Most of the land is covered in grassland. Tinder is abundant and you can use it as firewood or for building properties and furniture. Off-grid electricity, rainwater collection, and compost toilets are all legal in Montana.

Ohio

The southern part of the state has cheap land, low property taxes, low crime rates, and a low cost of living. On top of that, this area is abundant with natural resources that can help you survive in the wild and live sustainably. Ohio has a reasonably long growing season that lasts from May to October.

Some areas don’t have permit offices so you won’t struggle much with the bureaucracy of building a property. There are no zoning laws so you have a lot of freedom which makes this ideal for independent living.

Off-grid solar panels and rainwater collection are both completely legal. Some permits may be required for the usage of the rainwater collected since it is deemed as state property. There are stricter laws regarding compost toilets and the disposal of gray water.

Arizona

The northern part of the state is teeming with trees. The land is generally affordable with low property taxes. The biggest problem you might face is the lack of water resources since some parts of Arizona are desert areas. The best you can do is to dig a natural spring or live nearby a sustainable pond.

Arizona is abundant in sunlight all year long so you’ll receive sufficient solar energy to power up your grids. However, they have strict laws that mandate each household to connect to the main electrical supply of the state, and even if you wish to depend on your solar grid, the government charges an expensive “solar tax.” You also need a permit for your compost toilet.

Vermont

Vermont is a good state for off-grid living because of the affordable and plentiful land. Water and timber are readily available to sustain your needs. The state is also teeming with natural resources that support independent living. The zoning codes are open for off-grid communities in almost all counties in the state. It’s better to purchase land far from the major cities because these urbanized areas don’t support off-grid living.

Vermont heavily supports eco-friendly practices which is why solar grid panels and rainwater harvesting are allowed. However, you should look into the local county laws regarding building permits and zoning codes. Some areas mandate all houses to be connected to the principal power source.

Compost toilets, pit privies, outhouses, and other off-grid toilets are generally allowed for as long as you secure the proper permits and situate these establishments at a reasonable distance from habitation.

Oregon

Oregon, particularly the Cascade Mountain region and the western area, is a great off-grid location because of the abundant natural resources. You can find high-quality timber almost everywhere and you can use this for firewood and building properties or furniture. This state has plenty of hunting, fishing, and agricultural opportunities that enable sustainable independent living. The property tax, price of land, and cost of living are also low.

There are off-grid communities already in place in Oregon. Two of the biggest communities are in the Three Rivers Recreation Area and Breitenbush Hot Springs. Each community has shared electrical grids and water supplies.

Off-grid electricity is legal in Oregon. Rainwater collection is likewise legal for as long as you collect it from your private property, like your lawn or roof. It’s illegal to collect rainwater from ground sources like reservoirs and dams.

Compost toilets are legal for as long as you have a permit and the conditions pass inspection. The law also allows human waste to be composted for as long as it’s not near fruit trees, edible vegetation, and other consumable crops.

North Carolina

The non-coastal areas in Carolina are very affordable with stellar land quality. This state is such a good candidate for off-grid living that there’s a growing community in the Black Mountain and Saluda area. These communities even hold camps for preppers that teach the participants everything they need to know about homesteading and survival.

Off-grid solar panels are legal in North Carolina. Rainwater collection is also legal but take note that the North Carolina Plumbing Code regulations should be applied when using the collected water indoors for household use. Compost toilets and other off-grid toilet options are legal for as long as there is an approved wastewater disposal system in every household. This rule implies that it may be mandatory to connect your toilet to the municipal water source and sewage system.

Factors To Consider When Picking A State

Land Prices

The general rule is that the cheaper the land price is the more square footage you can purchase. That means a wider area for a homestead, a shelter, a barn, a survival garden, and more. It’s important to assess the exact amount of square footage you need because a larger area isn’t automatically desirable. A larger area equates to more responsibilities and expenses that you need to be prepared for.

Laws

Some states have stricter off-grid laws compared to the others. Some require more building permits with stricter building codes that may hinder you from living comfortably and might make you spend more than you can afford. Other states may charge penalties for disconnecting from the electrical source and other utilities.

Property Taxes

The annual property tax may limit the size of your property and affect the overall costs of building a permanent home.

Weather And Climate

frozen crops

Pick a state with good weather conditions. It’s not ideal to live in a state that’s plagued by storms every few months. This will affect your home and may hinder your crops from growing. The weather and climate also directly affects the types of crops you can grow in your survival garden.

You should also research which state has a lower percentage of natural disasters. Check historical records for the frequency of such events like tsunamis, tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, and drought.

Crime Rate And Population Density

Building a survival retreat or bugout location means stockpiling precious metals, foods, fuel, and other valuable items that you can use for bartering. This may turn you into a target as other people scramble for resources. Staying in a state with a lower population density is ideal because it means a lower likelihood of being stolen from.

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