Real estate is a weird, weird world to work in. Being a landlord or rental property owner has its own challenges without trying to keep an eye on every single out-of-place law that there is. Most of the time, legislation can make sense, but some of the time, the “black sheep” of laws seems to come out of nowhere. Check out some of these nonsensical laws that seem difficult to explain.
No Pointed Fences
Ah, the traditional American dream: the big house, the green lawn, and the white picket fence. It’s the cliché everyone knows and has doodled in the margins of their notebooks, and is illegal in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In fact, it’s illegal to have any pointed fence, no matter the material. Maybe move over one county line instead?
No Spite Fences
Scranton isn’t the only place with a ‘thing’ about fences. Rhode Island is rather particular about their partitions. Despite the entire Chapter 34-10-1 defining what a fence is, they have an entire additional section dedicated to spite fences. Chapter 34-10-20 states that a spite fence is any fence that ‘unnecessarily exceeds 6’ tall. Perhaps that leaves some wiggle room for the tall people asking for privacy, but otherwise ‘action to recover damages’ may be taken if the fence is deemed a ‘nuisance.’
Waldron Island, Washington
No More than Two Toilets
Waldon Island is a very special place. There is no ferry to go there, and no airport. This is a peaceful little place that has taken great pains to remain as remote and self-reliant as possible. They are also very careful about water consumption, to the point that it’s in their water regulations. Not only have they stated that anyone who wants to build a commercial building has to ‘demonstrate to the satisfaction of the county’ that they won’t ‘jeopardize’ the water supply, but Waldron Island has explicitly stated that no building shall have more than two toilets that use potable water. Keep that number in mind if there’s a vacation on the way.
No Snowball Fights
It is illegal to throw just about anything at a property, and according to Section 15.04.210, one cannot throw stones, snowballs, or any form of flying object (slingshots, catapults, etc.) to any vehicle, building, or any kind of property or person. So, no snowball fights, even if you’re making a rather enthusiastic Snowman and happen to land a bit on your own home. Tread carefully in Aspen, don’t let the snow trail end up in a criminal conviction.
No Leaf Blowers
All fans of yard work should take the weekend off in Hawaii. Leaf blowers are carefully regulated on the islands with fines up to and including five hundred dollars per each violation. Hawaii Law – HRS 342F-30.8 – is all about leaf blower scheduling. On Sundays, don’t touch the leaves before 9:00 in the morning or you could expect an expensive fine heading your way.
Property management legislation can be difficult to keep up with. Even the funny laws can be hard to fully understand. Keep up with some of the newer trends with our piece recapping the latest rental housing law trends.
What are the weirdest property laws that you've seen?