The Strangest Homeowner Laws in the United States

Written by Posted On Saturday, 30 November 2019 05:00

The United States is one of the youngest countries in the world, but that doesn’t exempt it from bizarre historic laws that have somehow stood the test of time. Its relatively unique history, in addition to the fact that it has been heavily influenced by so many cultures over the years, has also led to some strange laws and these are as present in real estate as they are elsewhere.

I make it my duty to stay up to date on bizarre real estate laws, not only because my career as a realtor began when I tried and failed to make it as a lawyer, but also because the weird and wonderful interests me and you don’t get much weirder than some of these laws.

No Couches on Your Lawn

This might be an unexpected law, but it’s one that makes sense nonetheless. Simply put, in many cities across the United States, including Lincoln, Nebraska and Boulder, Colorado, you’re not allowed to have a couch on your lawn or porch. In fact, the law specifically states that there should be no “upholstered furniture” in these areas.

Whatever the reason behind the law, you can't deny that it’s beneficial to a realtor and to anyone selling a house. How many homes have you sold where the neighbour has greeted all potential buyers by raising a can to them from his porch-couch?

No Mowing on Sunday Morning

The average American works throughout the week, spends time outside of the house with their family on Saturday, and then devotes Sunday to church, rest, and a spot of gardening. But in some states you’ll have to keep an eye on the clock if you plan on doing any yard work on Sunday, because it’s illegal until the afternoon.

Several states have outlawed everything from leaf blowing to lawn mowing, which can be considered a nuisance to neighbours, but others, including NY and NJ, have outlawed roofing!

No Bars on Windows

In the city of Ridgeland, Mississippi, you’re not allowed to put burglar bars on your windows, unless those bars were installed before 1996. This could be the result of a wrongful death law issue, as we’ve all heard the stories of homeowners being sued by the people who rob them and being told they were at fault for installing everything from spikes to skylights, but the actual reason is clouded in uncertainty.

It’s Illegal to Ignore Those in Need

In many US states you can be prosecuted for rejecting a person in need if they show up at your home. You may even be considered an accomplice if that person is being chased or hounded and you do nothing to help. In Arizona, it’s specifically illegal to refuse to give a desperate person a drink of water if they beg for it on your doorstep.

It seems like a bizarre law when you consider that immoral people could use it against you in order to distract you, but it only makes sense when you realise how hot it can get in AZ and how desperate that can leave its homeless population.

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