© 2020 Lawyer Up! Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Website by The Visual Source

Can I Burn My Own House Down?

Yes, under certain circumstances, in certain states. In New York's arson statute, Article 150 of the NY Penal Code it states:

1. A person is guilty of arson in the fourth degree when he recklessly damages a building or motor vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.

2. In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle.

3. A person is guilty of arson in the third degree when he intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire or causing an explosion.

4. In any prosecution under this section. It is an affirmative defense that (a) no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle, or if other persons had such interests, all of them consented to the defendant's conduct, and (b) the defendant's sole intent was to destroy or damage the building or motor vehicle for a lawful and proper purpose, and (c) the defendant had no reasonable ground to believe that his conduct might endanger the life or safety of another person or damage another building or motor vehicle.  

 

So, in New York, you can destroy your house "for a lawful and proper purpose". However, you need to consider other environmental and safety laws such as obtaining a permit.

If you just decide to set your house on fire, if it violates your local fire codes or criminal statutes, you could be charged with arson and arrested.