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Is it illegal to burn down your own house?
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Is it illegal to burn down your own house?

Not to collect insurance money. Maybe because you want to use the land for farming, or just because you're rich and want to do it for fun. What about if you know you're about to be found guilty of a crime and you know they government is going to take your assests?

Heh, i swear Im not in this position. I just read an article about a criminal who had to forfeit his house, and the thought crossed my mind.
Additional Details
I can't believe this got 92 answers.


If it's for farming or something of that nature, no it's not illegal. I'm not sure what's required in your state in regards to burning permits, but in Arkansas all that is needed is to contact the fire department and tell them of your intentions and when you plan to do this. You may want to contact the mayor's office or Prosecuting Attorney's office and find out what your legal rights are in your area.
As far as foreclosures, criminal investigations or something of that nature, it would definitely be illegal.

You would need a permit at the very least.

And yah, if you are ordered to forefit your home, it is no longer your home.

If they had to forfeit their house, then the house was somebody else's property. So, to burn it down would be bad, yes.

It's called arson...even if it's yours. Same applies to a car. So that criminal that has forfeit his house just added a few more years to his/her sentence. The main reason it's a crime is that once a fire starts, you have no idea where it's going to go...your neighbors homes...forests...whatever..and can cause the death of someone.

Many cities prohibit open fires of any sort, including piles of leaves and houses. In addition, if one has a mortgage, most mortgages have a clause prohibiting willful damage to the home and so the mortgage would become due immediately. If the fire spread, then the charge would be arson. However, there is no universal law that specifically prohibits burning a home.

It probably varies by city and county. I doubt that it would be legal to burn down your house in in a big city since it would jeopardize the safety of others. I also doubt that it would be legal in areas that are prone to forest fires also.

I would check with your local city and county laws.

Roger M
yes it is illegal

it is a danger to others

Get a permit if serious

Promise me you'll never have children.

Nathan W
It would create air pollution from burning paint, carpets, plastic, roofing material, etc. no way that would be legal.

Burning down buildings is a lot easier to do then standard demolition. Guess why they don't do it? It's dangerous. I doubt you could even get a permit to do such a thing.

mark h
contact your local fire dept FIRST. they can use your house for training purposes. if you dont? youll have a lot of explaining to do

Yep, it is definitly against the law to burn down your own house. It is arson in the 1st degree.

You have the right of use and abuse of your own prperty - you can estroy it if you want. The exception is arson, mainly because you could set fire to the houses near you too.

No, as long as you don't try to collect insurance on it, or that it doesn't damage someone else's property.

If you know the government is going to possess the property, that is different. That would be illegal. That's avoiding a fine payment.

I know of a famous basketball player that just built a new house. His wife found out he was cheating. The only things in the house were some of his trophies and professional mementos. She burnt the place down. He didn't file any insurance claims and didn't press charges against his wife....he just rebuilt the place.

Marvin the Martian
I may know of some parties that had a old and quite dilapidated house on a large piece of otherwise empty property. This house, if it did exist, was of no value and not insured.

These parties would have hypothetically cleared back all vegetation from the structure and hypothetically doused it with gasoline. Had this actually happened they would have started the fire in the latter afternoon, so that most of the burn would happen at twilight, thus, hypothetically, making the two signatures of a fire, the flame, and the smoke, least likely to be detected.

Keith V
Now childrun, drugs are bad.

King Midas
Yes it is illegal for you to do it, but you can get the fire department to do it for you. The reason being is a fire can get out of control and you could damage someone else property

Yes it is. Unless you can obtain a permit to do it. Then you have to pay for the fire department to stand by while they do it for you.

If you just do it on your own you can get arrested for arson and reckless endangerment.

Yes it is considered Arson. No matter if you own it or not.

Steven P

Proud to be an AMERICAN
Yes. It's a safety hazard.

At common law it was illegal to burn your own house down because to do so meant that you were endangering your neighbor's property.

Though not strictly called "arson" back then, "house burning" was a felony and you could be hanged or beheaded for it.

However, if you insist on burning your own house down, provided there are no mortgages on it, you aren't doing it for the insurance money, its in the middle of sand dunes; and by burning it you will not release toxic fumes into the atmosphere, endanger other peoples' homes and properties, and you get a burn permit, well have at it.

Definitely you will not be charged of common law arson as it requires "...burning of another persons dwelling", yet you will be responsible for attempt/endangering your neighbor’s houses as it can be reasonably foreseen that the fire can be transmitted to your neighbor.

However, you might be criminally held under house burning-a misdemeanor crime.

See also if your state also has some provision to impose criminal liability on burning one's house.

If you try to claim insurance or if you owe a mortgage on the house-you will be still liable.

Well if you want to do it for fun or for farming you need a permit from the citiy same when you need to construct ot renovate a building-they want to meke sure it will be done properly;-)

Republicans: politically spent
i could not imagine how it would be legal unless you were in construction and you were in the process of building a replacement building. But to torch a building for the "hell" of it I can hardly think is legal and would not fly in court

Amanda F
It is against the law. In the past some people would burn their house down out of anger, sadness and frustration if it was going to be repossessed.

larry h
yes,, you must get the home condemned and unlivable /unfix-able and donate it to the fire department to burn for training

Yes, unless it is permitted by the local government as an acceptable means of demolition.

Yep, You will have to get a permit and the fire dept will have to be informed and many of the materials in the construction of the house you won't be allowed to burn. You better check with DEHEC before you burn anything or you may face federal charges.

Effin Engineer's ☮
They didn't need permits to drop bldg 7 of the wtc on 9/111, so I DON'T SEE WHY YOU CAN'T DROP A TINY HOUSE!

Arson is arson So yes. If you owned the property and wanted to burn it for clearing the lot you would have to make arrangements with the fire dept. If permission granted, you pay the fire dept. to standby.
this is called a controlled burn and is use in rural areas
It is not cheap.

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