Crazy rules and arcane laws!



I am moving into a new neighbourhood and there is already a bit of jostling between me, my builders and my new neighbours. I am keen to fit in and not break any rules but some of my new neighbours are not happy already. My builders and architect say that its normal for it to be this way. The question of neighbour wars came up with my colleagues and what petty laws exist that could be used as weapons. I am in Austria.

I wondered if the UK was any better or worse? What crazy rules have you come across?

I think the UK was better when I lived there but maybe my neighbours were just clueless/not petty minded. Where I live now my neighbours have been much more easy going (for Austria) but my new place, just 500m away, its already looking like its going to be different from day 1.

I think there are still some little known arcane laws around in the UK. eg I read recently that some churches can force local house owners to pay for church repairs, for example!!!

Here are a few crazy/maybe sensible things that I have come across here in Austria:
  • I am not allowed to make any noise on a Sunday... eg no lawn mowers allowed. But my 80 year neighbour is allowed to cut wood all day with a circular saw because her house was once upon a time farm land. The local church can ring bells all day. Sometimes at a certain time of year gas cannons can be heard every 30mins throughout the night as part of some religious/traditional ceremony to scare evil spirits away,,, but I cannot cut my grass even it rained on the previous Saturdays.!!
  • I am not allowed to wash my car on my own drive way.... the soap is counted as pollution. Rain and surface water are kept separate from house water. Now I know why wash yourself car booths are so popular here :)
  • In some flats you are not allowed to have a shower after 10pm.
  • I am not allowed any surface water eg rain to run off my land and go over my boundaries even it was a grassy hill and still is a grassy hill since I bought it.
  • I am not allowed to own 1m the land next to the road even though I paid for it.... its to allow the snow plough some space to dump the snow.
  • No open fires are allowed on my own land but if I raise it off the ground eg chimnea, then its OK.
  • I am still not sure what is, what is not allowed in which bin!!
Oh well. New country, new rules... I need a handbook of things to be careful about!! And apparently such a book does exist in Germany and its a very popular purchase I'm told.
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No idea...

here is another example of how a foreigner can get caught out. Ignorance of the law is no defence.... if your unlucky.

I found a number plate lying on the floor outside my house. So I stuck it up high so it could be seen from the road by whoever lost it. The next day I get a knock at the door by the local policeman. He talked very sternly to me but then relaxed when he realised I couldn't speak the lingo good enough. It turns out it is a legal requirement to hand it in at the local police station and a serious offence not to do so. He was also concerned about all the number plates hung on the wall in my garage; door was open. They are all UK ones from former cars. Number plates are not treated the same here as the UK in more ways than one.

Next time its stays on the floor :)
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Distinguished Member
Being against the law to cycle on the pavement in places where there is barely anyone walking, whilst the road is really busy and dangerous. But no, they would prefer your 10 yr old kid to cycle in the road along side juggernauts going past at 50 mph whilst the pavement is empty.

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