Growing effort to outlaw off grid living in the U.S., as well as moves by local governments around the country to criminalize private rainwater collection.
Now, the federal government is making a major move against the tiny house movement, seeking to give the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authority to require tiny houses to conform to the standards of recreational vehicles (RV’s), of which one of the rules is that the vehicles may not be used or marketed for permanent living. HUD is seeking to regulate tiny house living out of existence or to turn it into a regulated industry by requiring that tiny homes be manufactured in factories, conforming to codified standards.
The tiny house movement is one of the latest innovations in personal freedom from an overly consumeristic and a debt-driven society. Many people construct tiny houses themselves, often but not always on wheels, for a fraction of the cost of typical housing. In a tiny home, one has everything needed to live a comfortable life, but in a tiny space often less than a couple of hundred square feet. They park them inhospitable places and enjoy life without a mortgage and everything else you need to fill and maintain a big American house.
Tiny houses offer shelter from the elements, and shelter from the economic matrix, which is why they are now under attack. Check out the language of the HUD’s proposed law for yourself:
This proposed rule would modify the current exemption for recreational vehicles in the Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations. Under the current exemption, questions have arisen regarding whether park model recreational vehicles are regulated by HUD’s manufactured home program. These park models are being produced with patio roofs, screened in porches, and other extensions that exceed the 400 square foot maximum exemption in the current regulations. Additionally, some of these models are being marketed as suitable for year round living.
HUD’s proposed rule would permit recreational vehicle manufactures to certify that a unit is exempted from HUD’s regulations. Specifically, HUD’s proposed rule would define a recreational vehicle as a factory build vehicular structure, not certified as a manufactured home, designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy, and built and certified in accordance with either the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1192-2015, Standard for Recreational Vehicles, or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5-15, Recreational Park Trailer Standard. In addition, to provide consumers notice regarding the manufacturing standards used to construct the unit, HUD’s rule would require that units claiming the exemption display a notice that identifies the standards used to construct the unit and states that the unit is designed only for recreational use, and not as a primary residence or permanent dwelling.
Whenever innovators and visionaries come up with new ways to thrive in an ever-more oppressive environment, the government is certain to declare all out war, and tiny house living is about to be banned.
How can you affect the outcome?
“HUD is taking comments from the public until 11 April 2016 before making any decisions on these proposed changes. Like I said, I’m not being some paranoid conspiracy theorist. These are genuine, real proposed changes. But they are only proposed at this point. They have not become official regulations. So, you need to speak up.” – Lutherville
States With Laws (and What They Are) About 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 finding 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.
This house is wonderful to look at, and even better to walk through…
These narrow, movable, single-person residences provide affordable housing for young people shut out of more conventional options by the housing crisis in Europe’s major cities, while also finding uses for a proliferation of vacant lots. The Heijmans ONE project by Netherlands firm Moodworks Architecture can be placed temporarily in virtually any location and takes just one day to set up on the site.
Designed for a single occupant, the house measures 484 square feet and features an energy-efficient solid wood skeleton as well as solar panels to produce its own energy. It features everything you’d expect in a similarly sized apartment, including a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and patio, and can be transported via truck to its destination, whether urban or rural.
The target occupants are young professionals who want to buy their own home but are unable to afford quality housing as prices skyrocket well beyond the average person’s means. The project also addresses the issue of derelict sites in cities, taking advantage of all manner of vacant spaces, from construction sites that have been put on hold to lots that are currently up for sale.
The prefabricated houses are available for just 700 Euros per month, and two pilot homes have been placed on Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam. Contact Heijmans to see them in person by appointment.
This is more like ‘luxury’ tiny living even though to some of us a place like this would feel ultra-luxurious and spacious. But something like this would be the ultimate dream for me to have on my own acreage somewhere. What do you think? Is this something you could shoot for in the future?
LUXURY TINY HOME INTERIORS
EACH HIGH-RANGE TINY HOUSE SITS ON IT’S OWN ON-GRADE, POURED-CONCRETE FOUNDATION
Each High-Range Tiny Home in Thailand Features:
- Kitchen: Sink, Refrigerator, Microwave, Hot water at tap
- Bathroom: Shower, Sink, available with standard toilet or power-flush
- Standard Residential Electrical & Plumbing