Looking to move? If you are, you might want to see what you could potentially be getting yourself into first. Because when it comes to laws in the United States, every state is different. And some laws seem just downright weird (and some of these so-called “laws” are nothing more than internet fiction).
No matter how much you dislike your neighbors, there are laws that dictate how high your fence can be. Sometimes these are local ordinances set by cities and counties, and sometimes they are set by subdivisions. But other times, the state rules how high your fence can be.
Rhode Island, for example, does not allow for residences to have fences higher than 6 feet. Overly tall fences are seen as “spite fences,” which are constructed with the main purpose to annoy a neighbor. Such fences will be deemed a private nuisance.
California Civil Code Section 841.4 also disallows “spite fences” exceeding 10 feet.
Waldron Island, Washington is a little island in the Puget Sound. It isn’t fully-developed but has an elementary school, post office, and a population of 104 (as of the 2000 census). A part of the San Juan Islands, there’s a low cost of living–and there are currently a few properties available, if you were so inclined to try out private island life.
However, keep in mind that if you do decide you want to build on Waldron Island, there is a ban on having more than 2 toilets in a building. The ban is intended to help limit development on the island. The people who live there like it to be kept private and quiet.
Depending on where you live, you might not be able to keep certain kinds of furniture outside.
In Boulder, Colorado, for instance, there are restrictions on keeping upholstered chairs, couches, and mattresses in the yard or on a porch. If the furniture is not manufactured for outdoor use, you can’t use it outside. The University of Colorado Boulder is known for its party atmosphere–and apparently, its students setting couches on fire. This law is meant to curb the danger of setting those things on fire.
Other cities who have passed similar laws include Columbus, Ohio; Lincoln, Nebraska; Columbia, Missouri and Ames, Iowa.
If you’re looking to move to Colorado for some cold winters, great skiing, and epic snowball fights, know that in Aspen, you can’t throw snowballs in public–not at buildings, people, or vehicles.
Sec. 15.04.210 of Aspen municipal code: “It shall be unlawful for any person to throw any stone, snowball or other missile or discharge any bow, blowgun, slingshot, gun, catapult or other device upon or at any vehicle, building or other public or private property or upon or at any person or in any public way or place which is public in nature.”
If constructing a snowman, be sure not to mistakenly throw any of its parts–don’t want it to be mistaken for a snowball.
The internet is rife with claims that more than 4 or 6 women can’t live together (regardless of their relation) due to so-called “brothel laws.” They are fictional. However, there are some local laws that do limit the number of unmarried and unrelated people living together.
In 2010, the New York Times ran an article about 5 roommates living in Manhattan who were technically in violation of Housing Maintenance Code. The law, which technically prohibits more than 3 unrelated people from living together in the same dwelling, is seldom enforced.
New Orleans, Louisiana and Boston, Massachusettes both have similar laws in response to overcrowding. The use of the term “family” is often narrowed for the purposes of renting “single-family” homes. In a city of 8+ million people, like NYC, that seems pretty impractical.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.