There is a lot of confusion about off grid living, and a lot of people think that they can not live legally in a house without electricity. Social media seems to be flooded with similar questions, so I am here to answer all your questions as I have been living off the grid my entire life and a big part of it was without having any kind of electricity. Most people are so used to having electricity that they simply can not imagine living in a house without it.
Yes, you can live in a house without electricity, but you can not legally sell or rent a house that doesn’t have electricity provided that the house can be connected to the local power grid. On the other hand off grid houses, or other properties that are not connected to the power grid, as the grid is not in close proximity can be sold and rented legally even without any electricity.
If you live in a house without power then you will need a backup generator, as it can be a lifesaver one day, my personal recommendation is to use one that has at least 3000 running watts, has dual-fuel capability, can be easily transported, and most importantly it has a good price to power ratio Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
Depending on why the house doesn’t have electricity will determine if you can live legally in it or not. If you live in an urban area, and the house is already connected to the power grid, and you want to get the house off the grid then you will have a fairly difficult time. Some states and counties will not allow you to disconnect the house from the power grid, not even if you are the owner of the house.
If you are renting a house and you want to go off the grid with the house in an urban area then you have to ask the landlord if he will allow it, and for the most part, they will not allow it. In some cases, if you are renting a house and for one reason or another, you do not have electricity then the house can be considered unfit for living, and depending on why there is no electricity you might even have to relocate.
The main reason why landowners do not allow renters to go off the grid and live without electricity is that doing this reduces the value of the house, which means that it will be more difficult to find new people to rent it and the price of the rent will also be a lot lower. Different states have different laws, although, for the most part, it is legal to live in a house without electricity in every state, if you want to know which states are the best for off grid living then check out my recent article Best states for off grid living ( 1-50 Best to Worst ).
Living in a house without electricity because you didn’t pay the bills
Everybody goes through tough times, and some people have it so hard that they simply can not afford to pay their bills. Once the power gets shut down, it makes it even harder for the people living in the house to live and to pay their bills. Once the power is shut down you will have to pay the debt owed to the electrical company and a reconnection fee, usually, you will also have to pay a fine as well.
The reconnection fee and the fine can be fairly high in some states, and for a lot of people, this creates even more problems. If a person can not pay his bills then he will not be able to pay the reconnection fee and the fine as well, and oftentimes people go for months without having electricity. Legally you can still live in a house without electricity if the power was shut down due to you not paying the bill, but in the long run, this will only complicate your life. If you live off the grid in a house without electricity then check out my recent article Tips for living off the grid ( Top 14 Tips & Tricks ).
Living in a house without electricity can be unfit for human habitation
Under certain circumstances, the local authorities can label your house as unfit for human habitation, and this can be extremely problematic for some people especially if they have small children. If you do not have electricity because it was shut down due to not paying the bill and you also live in an urban area then the house might be labeled as unfit for human habitation. The unfit for human habitation simply means that is not safe for any person to live in the house.
Although it is legal to live in a house without electricity but if your neighbors start complaining to the authorities then you might have the house labeled unfit for human habitation. Generally speaking, this happens when you are on bad terms with your neighbors, who think that you are reducing the price of their property by not having electricity. On the other hand, if you are frequently using candles your neighbors might be concerned that you accidentally set the house on fire.
Is it illegal to turn your electricity back on?
Yes, turning the electricity back on at your house is illegal, mostly because you do not have the authority to do that because the electrical company owns the power meter. In addition to this people who are not part of the electrical company are not allowed to turn the electricity back on as the power meter can be a safety hazard if you do not know what you are doing. If you have got your power shot off because you didn’t pay the bill then once you have to pay the bill and the reconnection fee. After that is only a matter of time until a qualified person from the company comes and turns the power back on.
As you can see living in a house without electricity is legal, although if you have the power shut off for not paying the bill then you might have some problems later down the line. In urban areas, it is extremely important to have electricity, as a lot of the neighbors will not like having a neighbor who doesn’t have electricity as this could lower the price of the property and it could also become a serious fire hazard.