Like many things that have appeared on the books throughout human history, there are laws that have been passed by countries around the world that are nothing short of bizarre. From criminal laws forbidding the eating of certain vegetables to home and property laws that demand that no DIY work be done on a Sunday, there is no shortage of humorous laws that someone should probably take the time to abolish.
If real estate and property management is your thing, you’ll enjoy these five weird U.S. real estate laws:
1. Arkansas, Missouri – No Bulk Rentals
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by batrax
The state of Missouri plays host to more than one antiquated law, but two in particular will be of interest to renters in that state. First, it is illegal for four women to rent an apartment together, even if they’re related. Second, it is illegal for four or more unrelated people to live together in cities that still use the state’s Brothel Law. In Arkansas, a similar law prevents any more than six females from living in one abode at a given time, no matter their relationships.
Both laws emanate from an attempt early in the 20th century to prevent the spread of houses of ill repute and both are equally unnecessarily broad in 2012.
2. New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Hawaii – No DIY on Sundays
cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo by Damiao Santana
Hailing from a time when the Christian majority dictated even the simple bylaws affecting American citizens, there are still many laws in effect that restrict activities on a Sunday. A few of these laws are intended to hinder those indulging in DIY in particular, making them important to memorize for the more handy among us – just in case.
For example, one state law found in New Jersey prohibits house painting on a Sunday. Another, this one in the town of Schenectady, New York, makes it illegal to fill nail holes with putty. In Hawaii, using a leaf blower is axed, while citizens of Santa Fe, New Mexico have their lawn mowers banned.
3. Pennsylvania, Rhode Island – Watch That Fence
Despite the old adage that good fences make for good neighbors, the state of Rhode Island has laws aimed at preventing any fence from being more than six feet high; one inch above and your construction gets tagged as a “spite fence,” becoming what is considered a private nuisance and requiring it to be removed immediately.
Also, those with dreams of a white picket fence may want to avoid the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania; local bylaws outlaw any form of pointed fence entirely.
4. Waldron, Washington – Only Two Toilets Allowed
cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo by Debbie Ramone
Interior designers working in the town of Waldron, Washington, take note: no more than two toilets may be installed in any one building. Despite the fact that logic suggests that people will probably urinate and flush as often as before, no matter the number of available toilets, this law seems to be aimed at conserving the town’s water supply.
As an extension of this law, any home for sale found to exceed the two toilet limit is subject to immediate inspection for further illegalities.
5. San Francisco, California – Keep Those Potted Plants Indoors
cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
Despite it being legal to give your house any paint job that you may like, often resulting in a mish-mash of of style that detracts from a home’s value, officials in the California city of San Francisco saw fit to pass a bylaw restricting a citizen’s ability to display potted plants outside of the their home. Any potted plant found out of doors in San Francisco is subject to removal and the offending owner can be fined.