6 Weird Real Estate Laws That are Actually on the Books

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Waldron Island, Washington

No building can have more than two toilets.

This tiny island in the Puget Sound makes up one of 172 islands in the San Juan Archipelago, which sits between Washington State and Canada. It is one of the lesser-developed islands, but it does have a small elementary school and a post office. The ban on having more than two toilets on your property is an effort to limit development on the island; Waldron Island is quiet and the residents want to keep it that way. If having two or fewer toilets doesn’t bother you, you’ll be glad to know there are currently four pieces of property for sale on the island on Redfin.com. But keep in mind you’ll also need a private plane or boat, as there is no ferry service to the island.

Boulder, Colorado

You can’t have a couch on your porch.

The restriction on outdoor furniture includes any upholstered chairs, couches or mattresses in the yard or porch of a home. The law stems from a habit among local college students of setting said couches on fire. Since passing in Boulder, other cities have caught on and passed similar laws, including Lincoln, Nebraska; Columbia, Missouri and Ames, Iowa. Uncomfortable porch furniture, it is!

Walnut, California

You can’t put dirt, sand, rock or cement on your property.

In addition to the ban on putting those items on your property, the city prohibits trash, rubbish and dead animal carcases. That makes a little more sense to us, but a ban on cement and rock, we don’t quite understand. After all, in frequently drought-stricken Southern California, many homeowners are encouraged to opt for eco-friendly yard alternatives to grass that don’t require watering, such as gravel and rock. We won’t point fingers, but we’ve definitely noticed some Walnut, California, properties on Redfin.com that violate the ban on rocks and cement, so we have to assume that this one is rarely enforced.

The State of Michigan

The last Sunday in June is officially log cabin day.

This law isn’t so much a restriction as it is a state-mandated appreciation for good real estate. As of the not-so-distant-past of 1989, the last Sunday of each June is the official, state-wide log cabin day in Michigan. It turns out that Michigan is serious about its log cabins. You can even tour a cabin from the 1800s on log cabin day in the north end of Detroit in what used to be considered “the country.” There are also plenty of modern log cabins for sale, including this huge estate (which, okay, we probably shouldn’t call a “cabin”). Head to Redfin.com to find your own Michigan log cabin, like this one for just under $350,000.

Aspen, Colorado

It’s illegal to throw snowballs at your house.

This law takes some of the fun out of a snow storm — you can’t throw snowballs at public or private property, at any person or in public at all. A prohibition on discharging guns and other missiles is lumped into the same law. While we probably wouldn’t make the comparison between a snowball and a missile, it’s true that some Aspen snowball fights can get a little out of hand.

Ridgeland, Mississippi

You can’t put burglar bars outside your windows.

Unless your burglar bars were put into place before 1996, they are not allowed on the exterior of any windows that would make them visible from the street or neighboring buildings. The bars are permitted on the inside, however, so if security is important to you, that is your best option.

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keenabean

Keena spreads the word about Redfin and its agents by writing about a variety of housing market topics and sharing those stories with journalists across the country. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our "Why Redfin?," page.

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