Here are ten of the most common laws you may be unaware you’re breaking at home, but which could set you back thousands of pounds in fines.
Households are being warned of laws they may be unknowingly breaking all from the comfort of their own home.
A new study by property experts Lajollalife.com reveals a list of the everyday laws people are accidentally breaking within their homes that could set you back an eye watering £44,100.
There’s been a steady increase in the number of fines issued in the UK over the last three years, according to government data.
In 2019, 68 million fines were issued compared to 2022, where 77 million fines were handed out. In 2023, it’s estimated that around 13.4 million people will be fined in the UK this year.
And now, UK homeowners must comply with new energy performance regulations or face penalties, including imprisonment of up to one year or fines amounting to £15,000.
Listed below are 10 of the most common laws you could be unknowingly breaking at home:
Not fixing a leaky tap – £1,000
According to Google search data, there are around 18,000 people typing ‘how to fix a leaky tap’ every month. But, as per The Water Industry Act 1999, you could be fined £1,000 for not repairing it.
The act says homeowners are required to fix any leaky taps within ‘a reasonable amount of time’. The Office of Water Services (Ofwat) states that water undertakers should expect homeowners to fix leaky taps within 24 hours of becoming aware of them.
Chris Guilfoyle, Managing Director of Greywater Drainage Solutions, said: “It’s interesting that the majority of the population do in fact appear to not be aware of such laws and the typical leaks that we fix are not recent occurrences.
“In fact I would estimate that 70% of leaks that we attend and repair have been ongoing for months, perhaps even years, due to the level of scale and corrosion to the surrounding areas; this is a tell-tale sign.
“When considering your leaking taps, don’t forget to check the pipework and valves under your sink as these are guaranteed to damage surrounding areas.”
An untidy garden – £500 fine
Google search data also reveals there’s been a 187% increase in people searching for ‘tidy garden’ online.
Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the law requires people to keep their gardens in good condition, or be fined up to £500.
Not displaying your house number clearly – £500
According to Street naming and Numbering (England) Regulations 1999, homeowners must display their house number clearly. House numbers should be placed in a visible position which can be seen from the street.
Displayed numbers should be made of durable material that is at least three inches high, or homeowners could face a hefty fixed penalty notice of £500.
Having an overflowing or broken bin – £500
Overflowing bins are a common occurrence, especially for those with children or larger households.
However, The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 says that homeowners are responsible for ensuring their bins are not overflowing or broken else they could be landed with a £500 fine.
When ordering a new bin from the local council, it can take up to two weeks for it to arrive, so if you notice a small crack, it’s best to act sooner rather than later.
Not maintaining your gutters or drains – £5,000 fine
According to The Building act 1984, homeowners should maintain their gutters and drains. This means they should not be overflowing, blocked or broken.
Gutters should be cleaned regularly, especially in Autumn when leaves fall and cover surfaces.
However, the fine for not doing so isn’t explicitly stated in law and is set by your local council which can vary from £50-£5,000 in some areas.
Chris Guilfoyle, whose drainage company regularly undertakes guttering clearance and repairs, stated: “Over the years, we’ve witnessed a growing demand for professional gutter cleaning services as homeowners increasingly prioritise safety and reliability over tackling this task themselves.
“Unfortunately, gutter maintenance often falls by the wayside, and when we finally step in, the gutters often require access through platforms or scaffolding. Regular maintenance can help homeowners avoid more significant expenses, thanks to innovative solutions like gutter vacuums, which are accessible to homeowners.
“However, a common challenge arises when considering where to store these extension poles when they’re not in use. Often, it’s more convenient to enlist the services of a local firm before gutter issues escalate.
“Of course, heightened concern arises in areas near trees and nesting bird populations, as this elevates the risk of leaves accumulating, nests forming, and the growth of moss and other debris on your roof.
“If these issues become visible, it’s highly likely they’ve also made their way into your gutters.”
Parking on front of your neighbour’s driveway – £100 fine
With more and more people owning a car, our streets have gotten busier for parking in recent years resulting in many giving up a perfectly lovely front garden in favour of a driveway.
Parking over a neighbour’s driveway, even if for a short visit, has been the cause of many neighbourly parking wars.
According to the highWay Code, Rule 243 states: “Do not park in front of an entrance to a property.” Those who do so may risk receiving a fine of £100.
Throwing your TV in the bin – £5,000 fine
It is illegal to throw your TV in the bin, under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013.
If you’re caught binning your old set in the rubbish, you could be fined up to £5,000 and even ordered to pay the costs of recycling it too.
Having a broken fence – £500 fine
According to the Building Act 1984, if your fence is damaged or falling down, you could be fined up to £500.
The specific rule in section 38 of the act states: “Every owner of premises shall, so far as reasonably practicable, keep in repair and in good condition all buildings and fences on the premises.”
However, the fine for not doing so is not explicitly stated in law. The fine is set by the local council and can range from £50 – £500.
Not having your log burner serviced at least once a year – £1,000 fine
There are now new regulations in place for homeowners with log burners in the UK. It is now a requirement that log burners must be inspected and serviced by a qualified engineer every year, as part of the DEFRA Clean Air Strategy.
Regulations also state you can only use a low-smoke wood fuel, and must install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. Failing to do so could result in a £1,000 fine.
Not repairing a dangerous crack in your property – £30,000 fine
According to Google there’s been a 124% increase in people searching for ‘when to worry about house cracks?’.
The Housing Act 2004 states that homeowners are required to repair any dangerous cracks, or be stung with a whopping £30,000 fine if one isn’t repaired. Although the specific fine isn’t stated in law, it is set by the local council and can vary from £50 – £30,000.
Mr Guilfoyle added: “While many cracks in property can be due to typical and seasonable movement inline with temperature changes, quite often large cracks can be as a result of subsidence.
“The root causes of these is often leaks in the household drainage system or water mains. If you spot any particularly large cracks from 5mm to 35mm then these should be investigated as they could be a symptom of a much larger structural problem.”
Expert reveals best time to see ‘impressive’ full Beaver Moon in sky tonight
This ‘impressive’ full moon is set to light up the sky tonight
As the temperature has noticeably dropped and winter is well and truly here, an eerie-looking full Beaver Moon will illuminate the foggy night sky tonight.
Tonight (November 27th) will be a full Beaver Moon and this striking vision will be visible in the sky from the late afternoon as evenings are now getting dark much earlier.
This full Moon is extra special as it marks the last one before Christmas and the penultimate of 2023.
This winter full moon’s name is believed to be derived from the time of year when beavers retire to their dens in anticipation of the winter months, as they gather and store their supplies.
It is also believed some Native American tribes as well as American colonists called the November full moon the Beaver Moon because this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
An alternative name for November’s full moon is the Frost Moon, which was also coined by Native Americans – which makes sense as the winter frost begins to set in.
The best time to see tonight’s dazzling display will be just after the Moon rises, while it is still close to the horizon and appears to be much larger than normal.
Dr Baskill, astronomer and lecturer at the University of Sussex, told BBC Science Focus: “You have a second opportunity to admire the full Moon hugging the horizon when it rises in the north-east as the Sun sets later that same day.
“Full Moons always occur when the Moon is on the opposite side of the sky to the Sun, and it is fully illuminated by sunshine – which is where the name ‘full Moon’ originates.”
As the Moon rises above the horizon it may appear larger than normal, although this is just an optical illusion.
However, Dr Baskill promised it would be an ‘impressive sight when it’s low on the horizon’.
The typical northern weather may make the full Beaver Moon less visible in the sky as cloud cover obstructs our view. However, we may still be able to catch a glimpse of this spectacular sight with the odd break here and there.
Stargazers across Manchester, parts of Wales and the South West may stand a good chance with clearer skies than London and the South East – as these areas have been told to prepare for wet weather.
Aside from the skies, stargazers will probably want to wrap up warm as they look out at the impressive moon, as temperatures are expected to drop to 5C.
Beaver Moons happen in November, making the next one not until around this time next year – so remember to look up and don’t miss out!
McDonald’s add Paddington collectable soft toys in Happy Meals this Christmas
The nation’s favourite bear is back in Happy Meals!
Maccies is making Christmas extra special by putting Paddington soft toys in its Happy Meals and families are delighted.
The cute Christmas collectables are available at McDonald’s restaurants now and are included in Happy Meals to give children a wonderful festive surprise.
Paddington teddies come in a range of 10 different Christmas outfits, while still keeping the bear’s signature blue coat and red hat.
The collection includes the iconic bear wearing a Christmas elf hat, a Christmas jumper, reindeer ears, a Santa hat, wearing a Christmas tree and more.
Each soft toy comes with Paddington’s message, ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’.
Guess you’ll just have to keep eating Happy Meals to make sure you collect all the festive Paddington bears! Fans can even hang the tiny toys on their Christmas tree as they come with a small hanging loop.
There’s also two different Paddington books to be found inside the playful cardboard box meals – First Snow and The Christmas Wish.
And children can find Paddington puzzles and colouring pictures inside their box meals to keep them entertained.
The mini plush Paddington toys and books are now in all Happy Meals until January 3rd, 2024.
Families are already absolutely in love with the new range and many flocked to a post of the bears in a Facebook group, where they shared their delight in the comments.
The post has already raked in hundreds of likes and thousands of comments.
One shopper said: “Perfect excuse to get a McDonald’s.” Another agreed: “As if I need an excuse for a McDonald’s.” As others fans simply said, ‘need them all’.
Paddington released a range of bears for McDonald’s Happy Meals last summer which included him as a dancer, a magician, an astronaut and more. They proved a huge hit with the kids and it looks like the Christmas range is spreading just as much excitement, if not more!
I’m A Celeb fans puzzled as Nella Rose ‘agrees to disagree’ with Nigel Farage
I’m A Celeb fans took to the internet to comment
Viewers watching the latest series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! are feeling confused after Nella Rose chose to ‘agree to disagree’ with Nigel Farage but ‘fell out’ with Fred Sirieix.
YouTuber Nella Rose was at the centre of another heated argument in the camp on Wednesday evening (November 22nd), but this time it was with Nigel Farage.
In the previous episode, the 26-year-old had a ‘falling out’ with First Dates’ Fred Sirieix after he pointed out their age difference and commented that he ‘could be her dad’.
Rose took offence to the comment as her dad passed away four years ago. Since the misunderstanding, Rose had refused to eat food Sirieix cooked for the camp.
In last night’s episode, Rose confronted Farage about his stance on immigration – as they stood around the bath – and after an intense debate, they ‘agreed to disagree’, leaving viewers completely puzzled.
Rose said to Farage that she ‘wanted to get everything out in the open’, asking: “Apparently you’re anti-immigrants?” Farage responded by saying ‘Who told you that?’ to which Rose replied: “The internet.”
The pair went on to have a discussion about why certain ethnicities may not like him, with Farage telling Rose that she’d be ‘surprised’ by the amount of people that actually do like him.
Then Rose asked: “So everyone hates you for no reason? Not that everyone hates you, that was so bad. Sorry.”
Farage said: “You can disagree with somebody, but to chuck around accusations the way they’ve been chucked around is grossly unfair. Anti-immigrant, right?
“No, no, all I’ve said is we cannot go on with the numbers coming to Britain that are coming.”
The pair had a debate about Britain’s rising population and its increasing number of immigrants, with Nigel remarking that growing numbers were a ‘good thing, unless you want a GP appointment’.
Rose pointed out the underfunding of the NHS, as she responded: “You’re not getting an appointment because the NHS is lacking funding.”
The social media personality also pointed out how many immigrants go on to work for the NHS, saying: “I bet you anything if every single immigrant or from immigrant descent was to leave the UK, all your doctors, go… most of your doctors are Asian right? Most of your nurses are African women, right?”
She continued: “You want us gone, that’s all I understood.” Farage interrupted to say: “Stop it. Stop it. That’s not… Nella, you’re not listening to a single word I’m saying. You’re not.”
Then Rose cooled down the heated argument by saying: “It’s okay for us to disagree on this.”
Farage said: “We can agree to disagree, if you listen.” To which Rose added: “I am listening.”
Viewers were left baffled as to how Rose could ‘agree to disagree’ with Farage but still hold a grudge against Sireieix.
However, she dismissed talk of a divide and denied there was ‘a situation’ between the pair, saying: “I don’t feel any kind of way. He’s over there, I’m over here. Everyone just does their own thing.”
I’m A Celeb fans took to the internet to voice their confusion, as one asked: “After yesterdays episode I just cannot watch or listen to Nella anymore… how can she be so vile to Fred over nothing but she’s ‘cool’ with Nigel after that debate that she wouldn’t even listen to #ImACeleb.”
Another said: “”Hang on… Nella has a go at Fred for saying his age, but Nigel can argue about immigrants at her and she will agree to disagree?”
Meanwhile, a third commented: “Nella can agree to disagree with NIGEL FARAGE BUT NOT FRED??”
And a fourth agreed: “Oh stuff off Nella if you can talk to Nigel Farage, you can talk to Fred ffs #ImACeleb”.