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Debunking Myths About Maricopa County’s Crazy House Laws

February 12, 2015

Laws are charged with regulating nearly all aspects of human behavior. Since this is in many ways an overwhelming responsibility, there are bound to be some laws that seem bizarre. There are also laws that were relevant when they were first passed, but then became obsolete over time. Some of these laws are so ingrained in people’s minds that they still have an impact on their behavior. Maricopa County’s bizarre housing law is a prime example.

The Myth

In Maricopa County, it’s widely believed that no more than six unrelated women can live together in a house. You’re probably scratching your head, thinking, “Now why would this be a law?” Well, the underlying assumption is that any place with more than six women must be a brothel. This law is, of course, sexist and absurd, and has no place in the 21st century.

The Truth

In fact, there is no law that prohibits more than six women from living in a house together. A brothel is defined by what occurs inside, not by how many women live within its walls. Some of the confusion may stem from a City of Tempe residential requirement, which states that no more than three people who are not related may live in a single-family dwelling together. The real law has nothing to do with gender.

The Effect

Despite what the law says, many people still believe that it’s illegal for more than six women to live together. Perhaps the biggest effect of this perceived law is the lack of sorority houses at Arizona State University. Some women who want to form sororities don’t even try because they believe the law is against them.

The law can sometimes be difficult to understand. If you have been charged with a crime in Tucson or elsewhere in Arizona, consider calling criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Having spent time as a prosecutor, Ms. Altschuler understands both sides of criminal cases.

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