10 ways you’ve accidentally broken the law – How to avoid a fine!

10 ways you’ve accidentally broken the law – How to avoid a fine!

Nobody enjoys breaking the law but a few of these we didn’t know even existed. Hopefully, this saves someone a few quid in fines.

1) You can’t beep a car horn to tell someone off

You can alert people that you’re there but being aggressive = illegal!
Also, you cannot sound the horn in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am
except when another road user poses a danger. (The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 & Highway Code rule 112)

2) Having a BBQ

Whether smoke from a wood burner in the house, a chiminea in the garden, or a barbeque all of them can constitute a nuisance or a risk to health, the same is true for gases and other fumes.
If for instance, the neighbours have washing out, can’t open their windows etc then it could be classed as a nuisance, in reality once or twice a year wouldn’t be an issue and probably once or twice a month still wouldn’t be an issue so it has to substantially interfere with a person’s enjoyment of their property for it to become an issue. (The Environmental Protection Act 1990).

3) Leaving some ice on your windscreen

You must clear your whole windscreen of ice before driving.
The law states windows must be clear – and you can be fined up to £1,000. (Rule 229 of the highway code & The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986)

4) Playing on a trampoline next to your neighbours fence

Be mindful where you position children’s trampolines to ensure that the noise is not too disturbing but also to avoid children (and adults!) being able to see into neighbours gardens and affect their right to privacy. (Noise & Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 or Noise Act 1996)

5) Taking your dog out of the car when broke down

If you break down beside the motorway, you have to leave your dog in the car. (Rule 56 of the Highway Code)
If you’re in an emergency, of course, you can remove the animal but it must be under control and on a short lead.
Also, make sure you get behind the barrier and get out of the car yourself.

6) Doing DIY after 1pm on a Saturday or anytime on a Sunday!

It is recommended by environmental health officers that noisy DIY should only take place between 8am and 6pm on weekdays, Saturdays between 8am and 1pm and never on a Sunday. Similar recommendations are in place for hoovering and other noisy domestic appliances. In reality it probably wouldn’t be an issue unless you’re doing it every weekend or all day long. (The Control of Pollution Act 1974 & Environmental Protection Act 1990)

7) Using your neighbours unsecured internet

Using it without their knowledge i.e ‘piggybacking’. Criminal charges can be brought against you. (Computer Misuse Act 1990 / the Communications Act 2003)

8) Dog barking

If your dog occasionally barks in the garden then that isn’t really an issue (as long as there is a credible reason, e.g. because someone is approaching the rear fence etc), an apology to your neighbours is generally enough every few months, most will understand and may actually be grateful as it often will protect their houses/gardens as well. It’s when they’re barking for longer than 15 minutes for more than 1 hour a day it becomes a potential nuisance (either inside the house or outside). (Environmental Protection Act 1990)

9) Be careful what you attach to ‘your’ fence

If you intend to attach your washing line / garden hose / plants to a neighbour’s wall or fence obtain consent first. It is your neighbour’s property so their consent is required. Generally, your fence is on the right-hand side, however, the pretty side should be facing the neighbours so it’s best to stick with that as the rule of thumb. Best to check your conveyance deed (or the transfer deed) to see if you’re unsure. (Criminal Damage Act 1971)

10) Bright security lighting or CCTV cameras

If it shines directly into a neighbour’s property it can constitute light pollution or a nuisance. A similar issue occurs with CCTV cameras around your property, ensure they don’t point at a neighbours property/land (unless you’ve asked permission or blanked out the areas).(Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, Environmental Protection Act 1990 & Human Rights Act)


Do you think you might have broken any of these laws?

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