Could bunting and Coronation decorations really land homeowners with a £5,000 fine?

Union Jack flags line the houses getting ready for a celebration of King Charles III coronation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the nation prepares to celebrate the King's Coronation, many homeowners have adorned their properties with Union Jack bunting and royal-themed decorations.

But some news outlets have reported that property owners could be hit with "£5,000 fines" if they aren't careful with their royal decorations. The figure took us by surprise at Homebuilding & Renovating, leading us to do a little more digging to see if it is actually possible to be fined such a large amount if bunting gets out of control at your home.

Here we take a look at the law in question as well as taking a look at a couple of other rules to see if there is any truth to the claim.

What does the law say about decorating your home?

There's nothing specifically written to say whether homeowners should or shouldn't decorate their homes for the King's Coronation. 

However, according to the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 and Occupier’s Liability Act 1984, property owners are obligated to exercise "reasonable care" for their guests' safety and how homeowners decorate their homes (for any occasion) would fall under this legislation.

It states: "An occupier of premises owes the same duty, the 'common duty of care', to all his visitors, except in so far as he is free to and does extend, restrict, modify or exclude his duty to any visitor or visitors by agreement or otherwise.

"The common duty of care is a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there."

It goes on to state that it is to be expected that children will be less careful than adults and that the homeowner should expect people visiting their home to guard themselves against any risks too. But — nothing about a "£5,000 fine". That said, if someone were to injury themselves as a result of careless decorating, this legislation could make it possible for homeowners to be taken to court and, if found at fault, the court could choose to fine them.

We also spoke to Joe Difford from the Local Government Association (LGA) who said that "in theory a fine is possible" but it is "extremely unlikely" and you'd have to "seriously injure someone" to be at risk.

So where has the £5,000 figure come from?

What will land homeowners and anyone else with an on-the-spot fine is setting off or throwing fireworks, including sparklers, in public places or on streets.

According to GOV.UK, you can be fined an unlimited amount and imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally and you could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90. It should be noted, that "party poppers" are not considered fireworks under this legislation.

There are also specific time limits to follow, which prohibit the setting off of fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am, with the following exceptions:

  • On Bonfire Night, the cut-off time is midnight.
  • On New Year's Eve, Diwali, and Chinese New Year, the cut-off time is 1 am

The government advises you to check with your local council for any additional rules or regulations regarding the use of fireworks or any other matters.

You could also be fined for having a street party

Homeowners could also face fines for holding street parties without prior permission from their local council to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III. However, failure to apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order to close the road could result in a hefty penalty or even imprisonment of up to 51 weeks. 

The government recommends requesting a road closure six weeks in advance, but there is no legal deadline, so councils may still accept requests for approval. Some councils may charge for road closures or administrative fees, but the Local Government Association encourages councils to make the process cost-free for the Coronation. 

So, if you aren't holding a street party without permission, using fireworks illegally or decorating your home in a particularly reckless manner, you should be okay to sit back and enjoy the Coronation over the Bank Holiday weekend without worrying about any legal repercussions. 

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.