Abe Saaed won the couch that sits on his porch in a coin toss.

"It's the only piece of furniture I own," Abe told me, "except for the TV."

Most couches on porches are unloved rejects, set outside for smokers and parties. Judging from the flower bed filled with cigarette butts in front of Abe's porch, his couch is used often. "Especially in the summertime," Abe said, "it's the greatest."

According to the Denver Post, the city of Boulder, Colorado, is considering a ban on couches on porches. "No person shall place," the proposed law reads, "upholstered chairs and couches in any yard, alley, porch, or in any other outside area." In Provo, Utah, and Bloomington, Illinois, a homeowner can be fined for putting a couch on a porch. Charlotte, NC, Buffalo, NY, and Athens, Ohio, are considering bans. Not surprisingly, these are all college towns, where college kids buy cheap furniture, use it for a year or two, and then discard it when they move away. Consequently, there's a glut of old couches in college towns, and many wind up on porches.

The reasoning behind most porch couch bans is that a couch on a porch looks shabby; in Boulder, a series of couch-on-porch fires prompted the proposed ban. Seattle's porch couches are currently legal, according to Alan Justad of the Seattle Department of Construction and Land Use (DCLU). There are no regulations that prevent Seattle residents from using indoor furniture out-of-doors.

But Seattle is a "quality of life" kind of town. We have a Teen Dance Ordinance that prevents kids from seeing shows (because some kids get in trouble), an anti-postering law that prevents people from promoting their shows (because staples are dangerous), and an anti-sitting law that prevents people from sitting on sidewalks (because homeless people do that sort of thing). Worried that one couch-on-porch fire might move our city council to ban outdoor couches, I asked City Council Member Judy Nicastro--chair of the Land Use Committee, which oversees the DCLU--to meet me at Abe's place and discuss couch politics.

"Outdoor couches are really neighborhood-building," said Nicastro, who assured me that she would fight any attempt to ban couches from Seattle's porches. "People sit out on the couches, looking out on their streets, engaging with neighbors. When I was at the [UW] I spent many evenings hanging out on outside couches; the outdoor couch was where you went to make out. So outdoor couches bring love to our city, and that's a good thing."

Shortly after we spoke about Abe's couch, he and his roommates were evicted (neighbors complained about too many parties). Abe and company now live on the first floor of a newer U-District apartment complex, and Abe's couch is under a walkway in the courtyard. It's still an outdoor couch, but it looks out of place.

"I'd like to get a house after our lease ends," Abe says. "Get this couch back on a porch."