Home Sweet Home


Remember when the dream of every American was to own a home. A place where a man was king. A home is a man's castle used to be the American saying. People today still long for that little piece of American soil where they can do as they please. People want a home where they can plant a garden, paint the home a color they want, carry on with their hobbies, a place they can say this is mine.

The United States has long characterized home ownership as just such a situation. But nothing could be further from the truth. Under the montage of property laws throughout the fifty states no where are you guaranteed the absolute right to your property. Under the law theory of imminent domain your property can be taken by any government authority and given to any one they choose.

Because of the various zoning laws you can only use your property for a use only as specified by the government. Want to open a home office? Investigate the city zoning laws first or you could be in for a hefty penalty. Want to grow a victory garden in your front yard? Check with code enforcement first. Many cities do not allow vegetable gardens in the front yard of a home.

Property comes with many regulations and restrictions. First of all there are deed restrictions. These are restrictions on use as a condition to the sale of the property. Some of the most common restrictions are: no mobile homes, no prefabricated homes, no business of any kind, only site built homes permitted or homes of a minimum size and composition such as brick homes only.

Secondly there are state laws that must me addressed. One such law states that you may not drill a water well on your property with out state permission which regulates the use of well water. Another says you may not have a septic system unless you get permission from the state and comply with all rules pertaining to such activity.

Then there are zoning laws. Zoning laws regulate the use of the property. Want to turn your five acres into a trailer park? The zoning may not permit that. Want to open a corner store? The zoning may not permit that. Want to build a duplex? The zoning may not permit that. Want to build a home for yourself? The zoning may not permit that.

After zoning comes city ordinances sometimes referred to as "the code". Although you may think you own the property the city will dictate to you how and when to maintain it. Some city ordinances in Texas even dictate what color you are permitted to paint the exterior of your home. Common ordinances include; when to cut your grass, how and when to edge your yard, how many pets you may own, what style fence if any you may have, storage shed placement and gazebo size and placement, how many cars can be registered at that address. In plain English, most cities have an ordinance to regulate most anything you may want to do within the confines of your property.

What it really comes down to is that you are only leasing the property from the government. Ultimately the government owns all the property. And just like the credit card companies that can change the terms of your account when they feel like it, the government can and will change the terms of your life long lease.

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Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Well, to be perfectly honest, the laws we are forced to live with today restricting just how we can build or develope our property go back a long way.  Even in the 8th century in England, for example, the "common folk" could not build any type of house they wanted to, and were forced every decade or so to tear down their existing dwelling and build another on a different spot.  Maybe that was to kill the vermin that collected beneath the reed flooring, or because in some places the dead were buried beneath the floors.

Anyway, in a nation that touts freedom, we sure do have a lot of laws telling us what we can or can not do, don't we?  Where I used to live I wanted to add on a new room and the permits and ordinaces I had to follow were ridiculously numerous!

As for who owns "your" property, just try not paying taxes for a time and we'll all see who REALLY owns my land!

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