Do I Need A Permit To Build An Off-Grid Cabin? Solved!

If you plan to build an off-grid cabin, then it is important to know if you need any permits in order to complete the process. Building any sort of structure can require permits, and you do not want to begin the building process without knowing what you need, or you could potentially have quite a few setbacks.

Do I need a permit to build a cabin off the grid?

An off-grid home may require a permit depending upon where you are wanting to build. Prior to beginning the building process, you must check with your local city hall in order to find out the legal requirements in your area, as they vary not only from state to state but even county to county. 

Checking the legal requirements to build an off grid home in your area is a critical first step in the process in order to avoid wasted money and potentially thousands of dollars in fines. 

Building an off grid cabin is a great way to live away from the normal noise of life and be able to live in a very sustainable way. The information provided has been reviewed by experts in off grid living in order to ensure you have the most accurate information when building an off grid cabin.

Are You Allowed To Live Off Grid?

An off grid cabin or home means that the structure is not connected to any utilities by means of wires, cables, or pipes. This means that someone living off grid must generate their own source of power.

Off grid living can mean generating power by means of solar, wind turbines, or even occasionally a generator in order to have electricity for cooking, heating, and means of communication. 

You are allowed to live off grid if you wish to do so. There are still permits and regulations that must be followed and these will depend on where you live. 

How Does An Off Grid Cabin Work?

Many off grid cabins will have solar panels installed in order to utilize the sun for energy needs. Along with solar panels, they will usually also have a solar battery bank that allows them to bank energy that the sun provides but that they do not need to use at that time.

Since the sun does not shine 24 hours a day every day, having a solar battery bank is critical to being able to use electricity all day long. 

Water sources must also be self sufficient in order to be a truly off grid cabin. This means that an off grid home will have black water and grey water sources and systems. Most off grid cabins will have rainwater catch systems attached to cisterns in order to catch water that is needed. 

Many off grid cabins will have a greywater recycling system as well as potentially composting toilets and septic systems. The water systems in off grid cabins can allow for irrigation of gardens and help with food production in order for those living off grid to remain self-sufficient and sustainable. 

Do You Need A Permit To Build An Off Grid Cabin?

If you plan to build an off grid cabin within the United States then you will most likely be facing permits and zoning requirements. However, this can vary depending upon where you want to build the off grid cabin. 

The first step before you begin the actual building process is to check with your local city hall to find out what regulations you have to be mindful of in your area and whether you need a permit. 

Zoning regulations will determine whether you can actually build an off grid cabin in the area you want to build. Certain areas of land are zoned for particular types of structures and you may not be able to legally build where you are hoping.

However, most people build off grid cabins in more rural areas and you most likely will not have an issue in a more rural area.

In general, when someone builds a home they have to follow building codes and get a permit. This could potentially be the case for your off grid home.

Due to off grid homes being built completely different from a typical home, it can sometimes be tough to meet building codes and get a permit for an off grid cabin. 

It is critical to check in on the legal requirements in your area because if you build and do not follow the regulations required then you could face thousands of dollars in fines and potentially quite a bit of money wasted on your off grid cabin. 

Can You Just Build A Cabin In The Woods?

Although it may seem easy to just pick land in the woods and build a cabin, you cannot just build a cabin on public land. 

If you own your own piece of land, then you are free to build a cabin on your land as long as you follow the correct zoning requirements and building regulations in your area.

However, if you are wanting to build a cabin in the woods and it is public land, you either need to purchase a pre-built cabin or you will have to get approval from the government in order to legally build. 

Can I Buy Land and Put A Log Cabin On It?

If you choose to buy your own parcel of land and want to put a log cabin on it then you need to determine the zoning requirements on that specific piece of land.

It is a good idea to do research prior to building to ensure that the piece of land that you purchased is zoned for residential use. If the land is zoned for residential use then you are legally able to build a log cabin.

Can You Live In A Cabin Permanently?

Yes, you can live in a cabin permanently. There is no law stating that you cannot live in a cabin as your primary residence. 

As long as you follow zoning laws and building code requirements when building your cabin, you can live there all year round if you choose to do so. There are many people that buy a cabin or build on their own piece of land and live in a cabin throughout the entire year. 

Is It Expensive to Live Off Grid?

Once you have your off-grid home built and functioning then your expenses will typically be less than a normal home. However, you will have some initial expenses that can be quite costly. 

Solar Panels

The initial installation of solar panels on an off grid house can be a large investment. Depending on the size of the off grid house will determine how many solar panels you need to power your house. Solar panels can have costs in the thousands so it is important to plan accordingly.

Solar Battery

Along with the cost of solar panels, you will have the cost of the battery that will be helping to store the solar power. These batteries can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years depending on the battery that you use. 

However, solar batteries can cost $5,000 to $10,000 so you must be prepared for not only the initial battery, but having to replace it periodically as well depending on how long you plan to live in the home. 

Water System 

An off grid house requires a different water system than a typical home because you are not connected to a public water source. Most people will set up a rainwater collection system, which can have an up front cost. 

Once the system is set up and running, it will have hardly any added cost as you are using rainwater and running it through a pump and purification system.

Off Grid Appliances

When looking at appliances for your off grid home, you will want to find appliances that are solar powered and energy efficient. The more energy efficient the appliances are then the less power you will use from your batteries. 

Energy efficient appliances may cost you more up front, but they will allow you to save energy in the long run as well as money. The less power you have to use from your batteries, the longer they will last before needing to be replaced.

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