The ABCs of Homesteading: L is for Legal Considerations

| 3/29/2017 12:00:00 AM

Tags: Tasha Greer, North Carolina, legal regulations on homesteading,


This is the tenth post in the ABCs of Homesteading series. Click here to read the rest of the series.

When I first started homesteading, I lived in a master planned city just outside Washington DC. It had many environmental and community well-being programs such as being walkable, maintaining a large nature preserve, re-wilding wetlands, lots of parks and community spaces, and free electric car charging stations. But, as a former farming community, turned upscale suburb of DC, the city also had many regulations intended to make it difficult for home-owners to become self-sufficient homesteaders.

Bee friendly lawns were prohibited as part of city lawn maintenance requirements. Extensive permitting and aesthetic requirements existed for building structures and fences. Although cats and dogs were allowed, chickens and mini-goats were not. Home butchery was prohibited. Edible gardens were limited to backyards. Hanging laundry to dry on outdoor lines was a fineable offense.

Now that I live in rural North Carolina, there are fewer aesthetic regulations and most people around here farm or homestead. Yet, there are still a lot of regulations to contend with at the county, state, and federal level that impact our choices as homesteaders.

I am not a lawyer and am by no means an expert on laws relating to homesteading. And unfortunately there are so many laws and regulations and different enforcement agencies, that even when you do your “due diligence” there is still no guarantee that you'll uncover all the potential legal hurdles. But, the following is a summary of some of the legal concerns I have encountered with a few ideas for how to navigate them.

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