My friend Debbie asked:  Hey Suzanne, we watched the movie “Bad Neighbors” the other night starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron (it was actually pretty funny) but the whole plot of the movie bothered me- it was about a couple who has a frat house move in next door to them and their attempts to stop them. But a frat house can’t just move in next door to someone, can it? I would think there’s a whole zoning issue and requirements, approval from the township, etc? Even though the movie was funny I just kept thinking how unbelievable it was. I said, I must consult an expert! lol

The answer is this: If the home is in a single family zone they could not get away with it. In fact, a lot of towns are now passing “X persons per sq ft.” or “X persons per legal bedroom” ordinances to combat just this kind of thing.

They are called anti-stacking laws. Stacking refers to a practice that was going on a few years ago wherein residents would literally sleep in 8 hour shifts. They would stuff as many mattresses as they could into every room in the house and then literally sleep one person to a twin sized mattress per 8 hour shift. I can’t tell you how many people died in house fires during that time, it was awful. Thus, anti-stacking laws.

Single Family means just that, everyone living in the house has to be members of the same family. But still some would move every distant relative into the same house, and it made it difficult for young adults who had a room mate situation, so now we have anti-stacking.

Debbie said:  I figured! Thanks for the awesome explanation. I’m just surprised they would make a movie with such an obvious plot hole, then. Unless I missed something in the beginning of the film that explained why a frat house was allowed on a street with single family homes. But I don’t think so. 

Well, Deb, there’s a reason it’s called fiction!  LOL