Sunday, July 15, 2012
The average house is like a patient on life support. It’s hooked up to all sorts of utility I V lines. There are water connections, sewer connections, electricity, gas, phone, cable and Internet. Some are bigger than others, but all depend on a monthly bill being paid.
Now picture an off-grid house with well, septic, and solar or wind generated electricity. Those are some big utility bills they won’t have pay. Right there are three less companies to owe money to. Ever get an error on a utility bill? How did that go for you? Companies have the advantage. The law system works for them a lot more than it works for you.
Houses are now being repossessed for unpaid utility bills. Imagine losing your house for an unpaid water bill. Isn’t that like killing a mosquito with a sledgehammer? The response far outweighs the problem.
Lately I’ve noticed people quietly moving onto tiny bits of marginal land. The lots aren’t suitable for a normal house. Sometimes the lots are too small or they are too close to wetlands, or other permitting deal breakers. Instead, they are “temporarily” parking trailers on their land. I’ve also seen Tumbleweed Tiny House types. They are tiny houses built on a flat bed trailer and they look great.
There are certain clues that these vehicles aren’t being parked for the weekend. A trailer that has two 100 pound propane cylinders hooked up to it isn’t there for the short term. Another give away is when someone puts in an outhouse. Personally, I’d rather use a humanure toilet, but to each their own. Then a couple solar panels appear and they are established for the long term.
Some people don’t even own marginal land, but keep their portable house moving. It might sit on National Forest land for a bit, then spend a couple weeks in a campground and maybe stay a while on a friend’s land. It might make a few day stop off at a Walmart parking lot.
Of course, I’m a big proponent of living on a sailboat. Make sure you pick one designed for independent living. Some boats these days are designed with such heavy power usage that they need to either live at a marina or at least make frequent stops there. What you want is a boat perfectly capable for long stays at anchor or on the move.
Your average house has big problems. It’s heavily grid tied, true, but it’s also heavily tied into political and financial systems. It has to conform to everything from building codes to deed restrictions. It can be a trap. A house used to be one of the few ways the working class could build wealth. Now it’s often a drain on finances with little hope of making it all back.
Some people have come to the conclusion that a house is to provide shelter, nothing more. They are opting for less space, bills, and more freedom. It’s hard to repossess a house for unpaid utility bills or taxes of you don’t have to pay any in the first place.