6 Bizarre Real Estate Laws Across the U.S.

6 Bizarre Real Estate Laws in the U.S.

When it comes to real estate and property management, every state in the United States has its own set of laws. While some of these laws are straightforward and practical, others are downright bizarre, weird, and even humorous. If you’re planning to move to a new city like the Bay Area, it’s always good to have some fun facts and trivia about your potential new neighborhood. In this article, we’ll explore 6 bizarre real estate laws across the U.S.

1. The Height of Spite Fences: Rhode Island and California

This is one of the first bizarre real estate laws across the U.S. When it comes to fences, it turns out that there are height restrictions in some states. In the Bay Area, for example, you can put up a fence on your property. However, it cannot exceed 6 feet in height. Any fence higher than that is considered a “spite fence” and is seen as a private nuisance. The state enforces this law to ensure residents have unobstructed views and to prevent conflicts between neighbors. Similarly, California also has a law that restricts the height of spite fences to 10 feet.

Interestingly, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, you can put up a traditional white picket fence. So, if you’re dreaming of that classic Americana look, you might have to reconsider your options.

2. The Two-Toilet Rule: Waldron Island, Washington

Having the right number of bathrooms is crucial when looking for a new home. However, in some places, there is a unique law that prohibits having more than two toilets on any property or building. This law aims to limit development on the island and conserve the town’s water supply. The residents of Waldron Island value privacy and tranquility, and this law helps maintain the island’s peaceful atmosphere.

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3. No Upholstered Furniture Outdoors: Boulder and Beyond

If you enjoy spending time outdoors and want to furnish your yard or porch, you might want to think twice before placing any upholstered furniture outside. In Boulder, Colorado, it is prohibited to have any upholstered furniture or furniture not manufactured for outdoor use in your yard or on your porch. This law was enacted to prevent the dangers associated with setting upholstered furniture on fire. The city of Boulder implemented this rule due to incidents where local college students, known for their party atmosphere, would set couches on fire while under the influence of alcohol. Since then, other cities like Ames, Iowa, Lincoln, Nebraska, and Columbia, Missouri, have also passed similar laws. So, if you’re looking to live an outdoor lifestyle in any of these cities, you might have to settle for hard chairs instead of cozy couches.

4. No Burglar Bars Outside Windows: Ridgeland, Mississippi

If you’re concerned about home security and want to install burglar bars on your windows, think twice before moving to Ridgeland, Mississippi. In Ridgeland, you cannot put burglar bars on the outside of windows. However, if you still want the added layer of security, you can install them on the inside of your windows, although they may not be aesthetically pleasing. There is an exception to this rule for homes that had burglar bars installed before 1996, allowing homeowners to keep them if they were installed prior to that date.

5. No DIY on Sundays: New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Hawaii

Sundays are often considered a day of rest, and in some states, it is illegal to perform DIY activities on this day to avoid conflicts between neighbors. In New Jersey, it is against the law to do any house painting or roofing jobs outside on a Sunday. Similarly, in Schenectady, New York, it is unlawful to fill nail holes with putty on Sundays. In Hawaii, the use of leaf blowers is prohibited on Sundays, while in Santa Fe, New Mexico, residents are not allowed to use lawnmowers on Sundays. These laws aim to provide residents with a day of peace and quiet without the noise and disturbance caused by DIY activities.

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6. No Snowball Fights: Aspen, Colorado

One of the most bizarre real estate laws across the U.S. is in Aspen, Colorado. If you’re planning to visit or move to Aspen, Colorado, popular for its cold winters and snowy landscapes, be aware that snowball fights are strictly prohibited. According to the Aspen municipal code, it is illegal to throw snowballs at any public or private property, people, or vehicles. While Aspen attracts millions of visitors each year for winter activities, this particular law takes the fun out of a snowstorm. So, if you find yourself in Aspen during the winter, make sure to enjoy the snow in other ways. However, leave the snowball fights behind.

In conclusion, bizarre real estate laws across the U.S. can vary significantly from state to state, and some of them are quite unusual. From height restrictions on fences to limits on the number of toilets and prohibitions on certain furniture and activities, these laws add an interesting twist to the world of real estate. So, if you’re considering a move to a new city like Bay Area, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations. This is to avoid any surprises. Remember, while some of these laws may seem bizarre, they often serve a purpose in maintaining order, privacy, and safety in our communities.

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Seb Frey helps long-time Bay Area homeowners make their next move easily the next one yet. If you're looking for a minimum of hassle, maximum net cash on sale, and certain results, contact Seb today.