5 Ridiculous Rental Laws That We Can’t Believe Are Real
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5 Ridiculous Rental Laws That We Can’t Believe Are Real

Rachel Bell
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Sometimes, we encounter a landlord-tenant law so specific that it makes us wonder what circumstances led to it becoming law. Here are the five weirdest we could find on the books.

My Apartment, the Crime Scene

California demands that a landlord or realtor disclose to any interested parties if any death has occurred on the property in the past three years, even it was from natural causes. Apparently in California the statute of limitations on haunting by ghosts is three years.

The idea of living somewhere a death has occurred can be so troubling to people that there’s a website that exists solely to tell you if anyone’s died on a property. Of course it costs money: one credit card payment of $11.99 in exchange for your peace of mind. It makes sense though; statistics show that houses that have been the site of a death are likely to spend more time vacant and sell or rent for lower amounts.

Full-time Landlord, Part-time Farmer

In Illinois, according to 735 ILCS 5/9-318, if you leave your rental without giving your landlord notice, they can harvest and sell any crops you were growing on the property. So if you’re thinking of disappearing, make sure you take a moment to reap your wheat fields with your trusty sickle before you dip. This law isn’t particularly offensive, but it does seem oddly specific and a bit outdated.

No Ferrets in the Big Apple

In 1999, New York City lawmakers updated their hilariously specific list of animals that cannot legally be kept as pets, mentioning camels, turkeys, koalas, wasps, and ferrets. Surprisingly, the inclusion of ferrets on this list was met with (muted, but) significant controversy. Rudy Giuliani was mayor at the time, and his personal mistrust of the species became well documented. A man who inexplicably but admirably has devoted his life to pro-ferret activism called in to Giuliani’s radio show and confronted him about the ban, prompting Giuliani to hang up on the caller and rant, uninterrupted, for almost two minutes. He stated that “this excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.” It's all recorded on YouTube. God bless the internet.

Welcome to Arkansas, Where the Rent Goes up Once a Week

Arkansas is arguably the worst state when it comes to tenant legal protection, as we’ve mentioned on Twitter. Notably, there is no law in the state governing the amount of notice a landlord must give before increasing a tenant’s rent. In contrast, Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont all mandate that landlords must give sixty days’ notice before raising the rent. Also important to note: Arkansas is the only state where you can serve jail time if you get caught subletting without your landlord’s permission. There’s also no state law limiting when a landlord can enter your unit, and anything you leave in the unit after you move out can be thrown away by the landlord without hitting you up.

Breaking Bad IRL

Only seventeen states in the US have laws requiring a landlord to let potential tenants know if a meth lab ever existed in the unit they’re thinking of renting. Some states, like Missouri, even demand that the landlord give you written notice of the apartment’s druggy past. Interestingly, ten more states have laws that require this disclosure if you’re a home buyer rather than a renter. We’re not meth manufacturers, but it seems like meth labs are way more likely to happen in a one bedroom apartment than in some four bedroom family home. And living in a place that was formerly used to manufacture meth can have a huge negative impact on your health - the chemical residue in former meth labs have been know to cause headaches, nosebleeds and severe mouth sores. Not chill.