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HouseWorth
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. Millions of Brits are breaking ‘unknown’ home laws
Research & Insights
18 October 2023

Millions of Brits are breaking ‘unknown’ home laws

Kimberley Taylor
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. Nosy neighbours and noisy neighbours are the common culprits
  2. 2. The Top 10 most commonly broken ‘Unknown’ UK home-related laws

Have you ever played Knock Knock Ginger as a kid? While many people in the UK reminisce fondly about the games of their childhood, they don’t realise that what they were actually doing was breaking the law. For some of us, it may not come as a shock that regularly annoying your neighbours has legal ramifications. What many of us don’t realise is that there are actually plenty of unknown home laws Brits break on a regular basis.

From overflowing wheelie bins to carrying planks of wood on the pavement (yep, you read right!), one of our most recent studies revealed that a shocking number of homeowners in the UK break laws through actions that many aren’t even aware are illegal.

Colby Short, CEO and co-founder at GetAgent commented: “Many of the rules studied in our research are designed to protect the privacy or safety of yourself or your neighbours, and so it’s important that homeowners are aware of these lesser-known laws.” We’re hoping to highlight some of these unfamiliar home-related offences in the hope homeowners can avoid them in the future.

Nosy neighbours and noisy neighbours are the common culprits

Surveying over 1,500 homeowners, our study found that opening post which is addressed to someone else is the most commonly broken rule. Though over half of all homeowners (52%) admitted to breaking the seemingly innocuous law, many weren’t aware that spying or intercepting someone’s mail could risk a jail sentence of up to two years under the Investigatory Powers Act.

Knock Knock Ginger also proved to be a common culprit, with a surprising 39% of people admitting to having played the game before. Many remembered the exhilarating thrill of knocking on the front doors of their victims before running away before the door could be answered, but very few understood the possible consequences of their actions. In fact, the Metropolitan Police Act 1854 states that it is an offence to “wilfully and wantonly disturb any inhabitant by pulling or ringing any doorbell, or knocking at any door without lawful excuse” - meaning those who play could be getting into trouble with the police if caught.

Other unknown laws include throwing a TV or monitor in the bin, leaving furniture on a public pathway outside your property, and bizarrely, beating a carpet or rug on a London street before 8am (something which over 1 in 5 people have admitted to doing previously)!

Here is a closer look at our findings:

RankHome-related offence% of homeowners that admit to offence
1Opening mail addressed to someone else52%
2Playing Knock Knock Ginger (also known as 'Knock Down Ginger')39%
3Letting your wheelie bin overflow with rubbish37%
4Not clearly displaying your house number or name30%
5Throwing a TV or monitor in the bin29%
6Installing and activating a burglar alarm in your home without providing the local authority with the contact details of a designated 'key-holder'28%
7Carrying a plank of wood along a pavement (when not loading or unloading to/from a vehicle)28%
8Leaving furniture on a public pathway outside your house24%
9Owning a log burner that hasn't been serviced at least once a year23%
10Beating or shaking a carpet, rug or mat (except door mats) on a London street before 8am in the morning21%

Colby continued: “Some laws or rules relating to the home may seem random or like they won’t ever be policed, but it's never advised to test that theory - as you could end up landing yourself with an easily avoided penalty. Our data shows just how many of the home-related laws aren’t as well known by homeowners - or at least aren’t being abided by, so we hope these findings will help to increase knowledge amongst homeowners and save people from what could be a costly fine!”

From homeowner tips to selling and buying advice, our blog covers anything and everything you need to know about the property market.Check out our blog here.

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