Is it Legal to Live In a House Without Water?

is it legal to live in a house without water

A lot of new preppers and homesteaders have to start somewhere. Sometimes your only option is to purchase a property that is completely undeveloped and find a way to live there while you invest your time and money into it. 

But, is it legal to live in a house without water? What if the property is nothing more than a rundown house on a couple of acres? Can you legally live there? 

In most cases, yes, but there are some exceptions. In this guide, you’ll learn about living on a property without water, where you can go, and what you should do if this is your only option. 

Can you Legally Live in a House Without Water?

In most states, you can legally live in a house without a supply of running water. 

In fact, more than two million people in the US live in houses that have no supply of running water and lack even basic plumbing facilities. 

This is a health crisis that’s widespread across the states like California, West Virginia, and Alabama. Surprisingly, water scarcity is also an issue in water-rich states like Michigan.

Besides, water supply is scarce in some remote locations in North and South Dakota and Alaska. 

However, there are exceptions. In some cities like Minnesota and St. Paul, a condemnation notice is served to house owners in case the water supply is shut off due to non-payment of water bills.

And even if it is legal to live in a house without water, you aren’t allowed to live in a condemned house.

When Does a House Get Condemned?

A house is declared condemned when it’s considered unsafe and a threat to the community by the local authorities. 

The main reasons behind these can be structural issues, natural disasters, fire, or the lack of upkeep. Other reasons can be damage from mold or termites and the use of inferior building materials. Health hazards related to contaminations and infestations are another cause.

The building inspector of a city can inspect such a house and declare it unfit for human occupancy.

Generally, a notice is served to the original owner to make the necessary arrangements for repairing the property. 

If the necessary inspections are done within the specified time period, the building is reinspected and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued.

If the repairs aren’t done, the house is declared condemned. A separate notice is posted on the property. The property is vacated and sealed. In some cases, such private property is demolished by the government.

Keep in mind that selling a condemned property isn’t easy. Besides, some structural damages to the foundation or support beams are irreparable. So many owners decide to demolish the building and sell the piece of land.

Buying a condemned house isn’t the best idea either. The repair costs can shoot up beyond your budget. 

However, you may get some great deals on condemned properties or a piece of land having such a property. If you’re looking to build a survival shelter with the bare minimum facilities, it might be a good option.

Will My House Be Condemned For Not Having Water? 

There’s no uniform rule across the country that makes it necessary for a house to have running water

In most cases, not having a water supply isn’t a sufficient cause for your house to be declared condemned. The general reason for condemnation is the violation of the building codes of that locality.

No running water may be an issue along with the other concerns. However, it’s not the prime factor behind condemnation.

So make sure to check the city codes to ensure if the lack of running water makes a house unfit for habitation.

Can I Live in a Shed On My Own Land? 

A shed can always be used for storage. But to use it as a primary dwelling unit, you need to develop it as per the building regulations in your city.

The rules can vary depending on the city. Some cities require a shed for connecting electricity, plumbing, heating, and air. A few others may allow you to live in a shed which is a part of a property that has a home.

Is It Illegal To Live in A House Without Utilities?

Without a doubt, the concept of off-grid living without utilities sounds exciting. For that, you need to make sure that there are no local building codes or zoning regulations against it.

One important utility that you will need to connect to is the sewage service. Proper disposal of wastewater is a necessity for health and environmental reasons.

In general, restrictions are more when you are nearer to a city area. Rural areas have minimum zoning restrictions.

Final Thoughts

So, is it legal to live in a house without water? The answer is yes but you need to make sure to understand the laws and regulations wherever you plan on putting your homestead.

Even if you don’t plan to live in a home without running water, an SHTF situation can force you to do it.

It goes without saying, collecting and purifying water is a vital task that all preppers should be conversant with.

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