18 weirdest housing/property laws

Latest update: 14 December, 2021

There are a lot of rules and regulations on the rental housing market - some more extreme than others. We at rentola.co.uk have gathered 18 of the most outrageous housing/property rules around the world

You can only empty your suitcase in the kitchen: (Sydney - Australia)

A tenant's lawyer in Sydney had a client whose tenancy for a furnished property in Sydney's Maroubra said "suitcases should be unpacked in the kitchen and then put in a sack and then tied". Suitcases were to be stored in plastic bags and "away from the bedrooms". "It is also recommended that handbags, hand luggage and clothes be washed in warm water and ironed," the lease said. The clause was apparently an attempt to stop the spread of bed bugs: the same rule further stated that "the apartment, bedrooms, beds and mattresses are free of bed bugs" and that the tenant would be responsible for treatment costs should an outbreak occur.

Do not use blue tack on the walls / Lift the pots and pans (Sydney - Australia) 

This lease states that the tenant is not allowed to use blue tack on the walls without the landlord's consent. The same contract contains the rule that pots and pans MUST be lifted to avoid scratches on the stove.

Finders keepers (Arkansas - USA) 

Unlike most other states in the United States, Arkansas law favors landlords when it comes to abandoned property. They can take over any abandoned property that has been forgotten or left behind in a rental property and do whatever they want with it. Arkansas landlords do not need to notify the tenant about the forgotten property at all.

Become a tenant without a contract (Oregon, Maryland - USA)

In Oregon and Maryland, once a person has settled in a property (abandoned or similar), the state recognizes that they are an official tenant. This applies even if they have not signed a lease. An official eviction of the lease is the only way to get them out.

Can’t do gardening if you should be in church (Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico - USA) 

Passaic, New Jersey, bans house painting on Sundays. In Schenectady, New York, you can not fill in nail holes. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, lawn mowing is against the law. In Hawaii, do not disturb Mother Nature (or anyone else) with a leaf blower when you should be in church. Either these restrictions are passed on from landlords who try to get their tenants to adhere to Christian values, or offend people who want to maintain their gardens with the use of machinery, which puts homeowners and residents in inconvenient situations when it comes to performing maintenance and repairs.

Illegal to do comedy, puppetry and dance lessons (New York - USA) 

Other activities that may disturb the neighbors are prohibited in New York City. For example, it is illegal to hold a puppet show, perform a comedy show or offer a dance class in a window of your house or apartment. Perhaps the city government fears that large crowds will form on the streets, at a particularly well-executed show.

It is illegal for more than 5 women to live together (Ohio - USA) 

In Ohio, it is illegal for more than 5 women to live under the same roof. A lot of women living in the same home is aparently increasing the concern regarding prostitution and brothel operating in this state. Or at least for those who passed this law. 

Prison punishment for taking out the trash (Missouri - USA) 

Missouri still has outdated laws in the books. Many people are worried about what you can and cannot do in your own home, whether you own or rent. If you are under the age of 21 and take the waste out with a container (empty or not) of alcohol, you are guilty of illegal possession of alcohol even if someone else asked you to take it out.

Your dog must be on a leash 24/7 (Camden - Australia) 

Clauses banning pets from a property are not that strange and are often seen. But even leases that allow pets can include restrictions. This is the case for a family living in Camden, southwest of Sydney. The lease says the only condition for them to have their two dogs in their home is if they are tied up on a leash 24/7.

The state can demolish your home at any time (Warsaw - Poland) 

In Warsaw you can own a property, but it does not include the land. It belongs to the city council, which can force you to move or even demolish your house at any time. Talk about being nervous as a first-time buyer.

Illegal to snore with open windows (Massachusetts - USA) 

If you tend to snore when you sleep, then it is a good idea to close your windows before you go to bed. In Massachusetts, it is illegal to snore with your windows open. All windows must be closed and locked securely if you plan to snore all night long. It is therefore not surprising that the number of air conditioners per household is pretty high in this state, as the snoring people are dependent on them during the hot summer months.

Illegal to keep a horse in a bathtub (Massachusetts - USA) 

One may wonder what incident led to this legislation, but nevertheless it is illegal to keep a horse in your bathtub at home. However, there is no legislation that says that you are not allowed to install a bathtub in your barn if you should be interested in this.

Burglar can sue you if he gets hurt - (Michigan - USA) 

Maintaining your home can be extremely important in special circumstances, including if a burglar breaks into your home. In Michigan, the state law states that should anyone break into your home and get hurt, they have the right to sue you. It is obviously the duty of homeowners to maintain the safety of all individuals, invited or not.

You need to take a shower before going to bed (Massachusetts - USA) 

The person/people who have been responsible for the laws in Massachusetts have obviously been busy, or just taking the piss on the population. Not only is it illegal to keep a horse in your bathtub, but it is mandatory that you take a bath before going to bed. Perhaps this law was passed to get the snoring part of the population have their sinuses steamed before bedtime.

Bring your own lights and floors (Netherlands) 

Your apartment may not come with working lights. Or a floor. These are considered "furniture" in standard agreements in the Netherlands according to Dutch Review. And since most apartments are unfurnished, it is important to book a showing on site before signing the lease.

No going to the toilet after 10 p.m. (Switzerland) 

The Swiss are well known for their liberal banking laws, but when it comes to the bathroom rules, it seems that they may be a little more uptight. According to the UK Telegraph, it is a bad idea to drink too much before going to bed. It is forbidden to flush the toilet past 10 p.m. Noise pollution, they say.

Keeping goldfish is animal cruelty (Italy) 

You cannot keep goldfish as pets because keeping them in a container for no other reason than watching them swim around in the bowl aimlessly is considered animal cruelty and will result in a fine. Similarly, the Mirror in Switzerland reports that goldfish are considered social creatures and therefore should be kept in pairs - or not at all.

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