Pigsties, windowsills and doorbells: the property laws due to be repealed

Changes to the statute book will mean fewer concerns about fixing your flowerpots properly

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The Independent Online

Does your house have a doorbell? Do you keep pigs? Do you ever beat or shake your carpet?

The second reading in parliament of the Deregulation Bill earlier this week means that 22 offences still on the statute book as part of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 will soon be repealed because they are either anachronistic or are now covered by more recent legislation.

This means, for example, that there is still a potential 14 day prison term for anybody who "flies any kite, or who makes or uses any slide upon ice or snow". Similarly, for "every person who keeps any pigstye to the front of any street, not being shut out from such street by a sufficient wall or fence, or who keeps any swine in or near any street, so as to be a common nuisance."

Other items included in Clause 60 of the Deregulation Bill (entitled "Legislation no longer of practical use") which are set to disappear currently apply to:

* Every person who wilfully and wantonly disturbs any inhabitant, by pulling or ringing any door bell, or knocking at any door, or who wilfully and unlawfully extinguishes the light of any lamp

* Every person who beats or shakes any carpet, rug, or mat (except door mats, beaten or shaken before the hour of eight in the morning)

* Every person who fixes or places any flower-pot or box, or other heavy article, in any upper window, without sufficiently guarding the same against being blown down

* Every person who throws from the roof or any part of any house or other building any slate, brick, wood, rubbish, or other thing, except snow thrown so as not to fall on any passenger

* Every occupier of any house or other building or other person who orders or permits any person in his service to stand on the sill of any window, in order to clean, paint, or perform any other operation upon the outside of such window, or upon any house or other building within the said limits, unless such window be in the sunk or basement story

There are no precise timings, but it is likely that these offences will be repealed early next year, once it receives Royal Assent.