Hartford, CT says friends can't room together unless some of them are servants



Sounds just like my hometown Fort Collins, CO.


That would invalidate hundreds of roommate-sharing arrangements near most major universities around here. I had 3 roommates at any given time for something like 10 years. :stuck_out_tongue:


How American of Hartford Connecticut.

Trailblazers of justice & liberty.

True patriots of the constitution.

Brilliant, intelligent, smart, sensitive, kind, loving, witty…

And, would probably take all of that as not sarcastic.

I now understand the saying ‘such people I would not allow to eat with my dogs’.


Perhaps instead of legal defense, they could just raise the money to hire each other as servants. :wink:

Seriously, this is an issue all over, especially in places that passed laws decades or a century ago to prohibit or discourage college-student housing/fraternities/sororities or immigrant extended-family “slums,” in some cases designed to prohibit brothels.

Because historically older, stable, long-term property owners have dominated local electoral politics, and there’s lots of inertia in regulation, quite a few of these laws remain on the books, despite changes in the nature of families and the needs of people wanting to share.

Enforcement is often lax, but the laws, even if not currently valid or relevant, often hang over the heads of people who start sharing this way, and the risk it adds inhibits financing and creation of new communities; it is typically invoked when a neighbor wants to change the behavior of members of a shared-living community.

I’m part of a nascent cohouseholding movement working to map and change the laws, increase understanding, and ease the process of creating sharing community. We need better model ordinances that make it possible to create shared-living communities like these, and zoning codes that support the density and design for sharing while providing ways to prevent and mitigate the impacts… and, more than anything else, get past fears of potential impacts that inhibit innovation in this arena.

Consider this a sector of the emerging “sharing economy,” but instead of being about reducing risk through commodification and technology, its about a return to older ideas of sharing out of necessity and desire.


P.S. This kind of under-one-roof sharing is often what people think we mean when we talk about cohousing communities, but that’s something else entirely, condos with shared spaces, an intentional neighborhood.

P.P.S. Plug Warning: In fact, this is one of the topics at our Communify San Diego #unconference tomorrow.


They should all claim to be domestic servants. And the zoning board should mind its own fucking business.


I believe that is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, which makes illegal housing discrimination based on family status or a lack of it. These folks should file a complaint with HUD as soon as possible.


I remember in the 70s when this sort of law encountered the wall between church and state when the city of Cleveland tried to enforce it on a handful of nuns living together.


With the middle class disappearing and society bifurcating into blue bloods and servants, there is no reason to think this will change anytime soon.


(Unfortunately) I don’t believe this is actually violation of the fair housing acts provision on family status. In the context of the fair housing act, family status means kids under age 18. It does not (as far as I understand) prohibit restrictions on unrelated adults living together.

That’s why they had to replace Alice with the show’s title text.


Why not have the house zoned as a multi-family dwelling? Of course then a bunch of other shit has to happen they wouldn’t like, but they are going to be fighting an up hill battle no matter what. I don’t agree with what the law is doing in this instance, but I can understand why these laws exist.

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Can you understand why? Could you please explain then, because it doesn’t make sense to me. In Europe this kind of thing is somewhat common, especially in Oslo, Norway (the third most expensive place to live in the world). I’ve personally spent 7 years in a shared house with 3-5 friends, and I count those years as some of my happiest.


Given how bureaucrats have their own reality separated from the true one, could they make a “bureaucreality” of some (or, for comedic effect, all) of them being “servants”?

De iure and de facto can have a pretty wide chasm between without hurting anybody.

I am not a lawyer (and do NOT, repeat NOT, want to be), so a consultation with somebody more skilled in dealing with this kind of man-made nonsense would be needed for a suitability analysis of the approach.

…Unless they WANT the fight, in which case more power to them.


Write a contract, each person pays another $1 a week for services. Since they already do services for each other, they can just pass the dollars around each week to keep it legal.


Most of these housing codes have one of two reasons for them - keeping poor people from moving into the richer neighborhood by living together, and keeping other undesirable groups like college students or vacationers near beach towns from either living in crowded noisy houses that disturb the neighbors or fail to make enough money for landlords.

Some of it’s also leftover Puritanism, because if groups of people are living together who aren’t family, they might be (gasp!) couples (or worse!) having sex outside of marriage, and we simply can’t allow that to go on!

And in case it’s not obvious, just because these are reasons doesn’t mean I think they’re good reasons. And I’ve had friends here in Silicon Valley deal with the housing situation by sharing houses, especially if they were single when they moved here, which many recent college graduates were.


People keep positing the “pretend they’re servants” solution, as if it isn’t obvious that to do so while complying with tax and labor laws wouldn’t make it an enormous boondoggle. At the very least, $1/week does not meet minimum wage requirements…


Maybe they could re-zone each room as a separate dwelling, like an apartment block

Get a third party to write a contract with to “serve” for, somebody who is outside the reach of the US law and does not ever plan to travel there. (Or possibly “borrow” a homeless person, you wouldn’t believe how many “own” various shell companies here.) Then the liability for underpaying is on that one person, who does not have to care, the friends are exploited poor underpaid servants who of course don’t complain, and most likely nobody will even figure out that something is “wrong”.

Rough thought, may or may not work.

Other idea. Does the specification of “servants” include the number of work hours? A contract for one hour per month could work in case it does not.

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if they pool money into an account, they are effectively all paid servants…