Setback is a technical property term that refers to the minimum distance that a house must be from the end of the lot line. The specific setback distance is determined by the local municipality that is in charge of zoning. In some cities, homes can be placed incredibly close to the edge of the property line. In rural areas, homes are usually required to be further back from the line. Cities and towns enforce these laws in order to maintain a certain appearance, properly render public services and carry out other designated purposes. Builders can be fined if they construct a home that does not comply with the setback. Some older homes may be grandfathered in under older setback regulations, and the owners of older homers are typically exempt from these rules. The official distinction for these homes is “legal but not conforming,” giving them a special protected status outside of the current law.