strange real estate laws

5 Strange Real Estate Laws in the U.S.

At Davis, Bingham, Hudson, & Buckner, P.C., our real estate lawyers are passionate about residential and commercial real estate laws. We provide legal representation for buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants involved in real estate transactions and disputes throughout Alabama.

While Alabama’s real estate laws are pretty straightforward, this isn’t necessarily the case in other parts of the country. Here are five strange real estate laws in the U.S. that may leave you scratching your head.

  1. Don’t Throw Snow!

While it may not be common in Alabama, in many parts of the country, engaging in a good snowball fight—or dozens throughout one’s youth—is like a rite of passage. But in Aspen, CO, one should be careful about where they decide to throw snow. That’s because in Aspen, throwing a snowball at a house is illegal. To be more specific, throwing snow in public at all is banned under the city’s municipal code, section 15.04.210. So, if you want to avoid a run-in with law enforcement, it’s best to stick to making snowmen when visiting this Colorado mountain town.

  1. Only Family, Please

Not unique to a single city or state, many areas throughout the country have laws regarding how many unrelated adults can live in a single home. Some states specifically have laws regarding the number of women who can live in a home (who are unrelated). These laws are likely based on historical policies that intended to limit the number of brothels; today, they are rarely enforced.

  1. No Outdoor Lounging

You may think it quite relaxing to lounge outside your home on a couch, but in Boulder, CO, you’d be risking a run-in with the law if you were to do so. The city restricts the use of furniture outside that is not intended for outdoor use, including chairs, couches, mattresses, recliners, and the like. Sources suggest that this law is in place to mitigate the parties—and the risk of young people setting furniture on fire—that are common near the University of Colorado – Boulder’s campus. Boulder is not the only city in the country to have a law like this—Columbus, OH, Lincoln, NE, and Ames, IA have similar laws.

  1. Toilets, Limited

It seems ridiculous that there would be a limit on the number of bathrooms in a home, especially given the trend towards building bigger that’s been steady for the last few decades. But such a law does indeed exist! In Waldron Island, Washington, which is a small island in Puget Sound, there is a ban on constructing structures with more than two toilets. The ban is intended to limit development on the small island, which is part of the San Juan Islands and maintains a relatively low cost of living. Big family? Too bad—bathrooms must be shared.

  1. No “Spite Fences”

If you’ve never heard of the term “spite fence,” you’re not alone. In property law, a spite fence is a term that’s used to refer to an excessively tall fence, or sometimes even a row of bushes or hedges, that is installed between residential properties by an owner who is annoyed by their neighbor or wishes to annoy their neighbor. This barrier serves the purpose of completely obstructing each other’s view between lots. But no matter how much you dislike your neighbors or just value your own privacy; spite fences aren’t allowed in many jurisdictions throughout the U.S. In Rhode Island, for example, it is prohibited to build a fence that’s over six feet tall.

Have Questions About Real Estate in Alabama? We Can Help

While most of Alabama’s laws may not fall into the categories of laughability or strangeness as those above, there are dozens of laws that are complex and easy to breach without a thorough understanding of regulations. If you have questions about residential or commercial real estate laws in our state, our team of real estate lawyers at the Davis, Bingham, Hudson, & Buckner, P.C. can help.

In addition to helping you navigate real estate laws, we also provide legal representation for real estate transactions, and we can help with important aspects of the transaction such as purchase agreements, title checks, disclosures, duties, the closing process, residential real estate disputes, real estate litigation, landlord-tenant issues, and foreclosure.

To learn more about Davis, Bingham, Hudson, & Buckner, P.C. and how our attorneys can help you when you are involved in a real estate transaction in Alabama, reach out to our team directly by phone or online today! You can call us at (334) 821-1908.

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