The great thing about owning your own home is that you’re far freer to do what you wish with it. However, it’s important to understand that even though you own the property, you aren’t necessarily allowed to do absolutely anything on or two it. Every single township/city in California has ordinances that restrict some of your options. These ordinances can limit the number/type of pets you have, the type of business you operate out of your home, and even how frequently you mow your lawn. Breaking the rules, can cost a hefty fine and if the violation is bad enough, might even cost you your home.
Laws are Still Laws
Just because you happen to be in the privacy of your own home, you don’t have carte blanche to break any law you want. The general rule of thumb is that if you’d get arrested for doing something while in a local parking lot, the same act will get you arrested while you’re on your own property, the only difference is that the odds of getting caught decrease while you’re home.
What is a little different is the way police find out about whether you’ve broken the law. There are some different rules about warrants, searches, and seizures when an incident takes place on your own property.
Breaking Zoning Ordinances is Costly
The biggest thing that gets homeowners in trouble is breaking zoning ordinances. Different towns/townships have different rules, so it’s important to take to your local zoning authority and learn what will and won’t fly in your neck of the woods.
Common issues people have with zoning ordinances include:
- Having a high-risk pet or having too many pets or having farm animals in an area where farm animals are prohibited
- Creating a too big garden
- Improper signage
- Not handling home improvement projects quickly enough
- Failure to properly maintain the property (such as not mowing your lawn frequently enough)
How to Handle Zoning Problems
If you run afoul of a zoning ordinance in the township/city where your property is located, you don’t want to dig in your heels and adopt an “I can do whatever I want attitude.” It’s in your best interest to take a deep breath and work closely with the township trustees and explore ways that you can continue to do what you wish on your property and not create any legal drama.