Landlord to Tenants: Take Down Your BLM Signs or Face Eviction

Comments

1

"The face of the building belongs to everyone, so we need to keep it looking clean and neutral" .

while the building's face may be 'communal,'
the Windows belong to the tenants to use as
displays for backlit Art, as they see fit.

What the fuck?

They're gonna ban Art?

What IS this, Mississippi?
North fucking Korea?

2

Landlords are meant to be obeyed. That is why they are called lords.

3

@2 How did I miss the fealty clause in my rental contract? I sure hope they don't try to enforce droit de seigneur on us serfs as well.

4

Landlords are property. That why they are called land.

5

Neutral is better than dueling tenant windows of BLM signs and MAGA signs.

It's really not necessary, or even healthy, to be overtly political 24/7.

6

I swear we covered this already.

7

Fun fact. Landlords work for you.

Says a lot about you whose side you choose, tenants or real estate investors.

8

A landlord can dictate that NO SIGNS OF ANY KIND be put in your window, but they cannot dictate that BLACK LIVES MATTER signs only can be put in your window. See the difference?

Obviously racists don't give a shit now if they are out and proud. Thanks Trump!!!

9

@5:

So, you're now against both the First Amendment AND political discourse - par for the course you utter cockwomble.

10

@9: You extrapolate nothing, you project anything.

11

@8: I think the you meant "..but they cannot dictate that BLACK LIVES MATTER signs only cannot be put in your window."

12

@9 Nah man, you got it all fucked up. Drips position is the government should never tell you what to do (fuck stop signs). The only people who can tell you what to do are your boss (who you work for) and your landlord (who works for you). Definitely dont do anything within the legal system to change that because passing laws that help Americans is uh....marxism?

13

The sheer level of entitlement of these people is nauseating. I seriously doubt they would have the same level of outrage if someone wanted to put up signs for something they were not invested in. Grow up.

14

@2 In Ireland, "landlord" is an insult. As it should be. There is no greater parasite on the face of the Earth than people who live of the labor of others, and claim to actually earn their income.

15

Be a shame if their aggressive rejection of tenants first amendment rights caused folks to stage protests outside properties they own.

16

My favorite sign in SF:

KIDS IN CAGES
2 YEARS
[American Flag]

17

@14: The headline says "Landlord," but the story identifies a "property manager," i.e. someone who works FOR a landlord to earn income.

Always read the fine print! ;-)

18

@5 Saying Black Lives Matter is about as political as saying the Fourth of July holiday always happens on July 4th.

19

This is going to come back and bite them in the ass tenfold. You'd think these assholes would have learned by now to just leave these little things be. Maybe they'll learn it when people are protesting in front of their buildings and bringing a whole lot more attention than a couple signs.

20

Used to own a condo. Owned it, not rented. WE couldn't put anything in our windows, including "For Rent" for "For Sale" signs. No. Signs. At. All. Nada.

We couldn't even pick the color of our curtains!

22

It really doesn’t matter how your relationship with your Blackness, or your whiteness (if you believe there is such a thing as “whiteness”), changes. It still doesn’t change your relationship with your lease.

It’s a contractual agreement. Either negotiate a change or, failing that, move to a different place with different lease terms.

And this idea that neutrality = racism is an opinion. It’s not incontrovertibile fact. It’s certainly not an idea you can legally hang your hat on, and if the terms of an agreement you willfully signed now make you “feel small,” you should move out.

23

@22. Doesn't this sort of contractual obligation indirectly restrict free speech to those who can afford it? Makes me wonder if this is the kind of issue that would face the Supreme Court someday. I mean, NASCAR.

24

This is really what is wrong with so many people. This is not about BLM. It is about a contract that was SIGNED voluntarily by the tenant. They could have sought and I am sure find a place with no such restrictions. This building is not their property. The signs are not required for a civil society. This is a design and aesthetic issue. There may indeed be neighbor tenants who don't want their homes to be a billboard for any cause, who are expecting the rules to be enforced. 1st amendment rights don't apply in a private contract like this. And I thought that evictions are not banned, only those having to do with not paying rent. The bigger issue is how so many people grandstand on the issue du jour and believe that anyone who does not jump on their bandwagon with the same or greater fervor is a traitor or worse. That every organization has had to make a supportive statement and if not sufficient, is subject to outrage, speaks for itself (do a search in the NY Times on Poetry Foundation and black lives matter and see the resignations of two leaders because they were not woke enough in their initial statement - among others). Take down the damn signs. And Stranger, is this really a story?

25

@23: It definitely contributes to an atmosphere where the only people who don't have to watch what they say are people who don't have bosses or landlords.

Which is how we find ourselves in the unfortunate position where a sizable portion of the population is in love with a fake tycoon who "says what's on his mind," because to them being able to blurt out whatever stupid and/or evil shit pops into your head without a moment's thought of the consequences looks like a superpower.

27

@23 Garb, You present a very interesting angle on this, and while I'd want to hear more perspectives on it, I would tend to support that constitutional argument.

As far as the way it is now, I side with the property owner as long as the rule is uniformly enforced. I don't think anyone's made a case for why these tenants should be allowed to display signage in their window in violation of their tenant agreement. The property owner may not be able to evict over such a violation during the eviction moratorium, but the tenants are opening themselves up to eviction after the moratorium and they can forget about getting a good reference for future rentals.

OTOH, they’re free to band together and protest for change - I hope they do.

28

I live in the most densely populated apartment clustered neighborhood in all Portland (which is incidentally also one of the most densely populated neighborhoods on the entire west coast.) I see these signs in windows constantly, in nearly every building I walk by. And I'm 8 zillion percent certain that none of my neighbors bothered to scour their lease for terms that allow such innocuous displays. And the reason they didn't do so is because they correctly assumed that no halfway reasonable person on the planet could possibly have a problem with them regardless.

29

I'm so outraged....Oh well, it's only a contract you freely signed. Wish I could change my mind on a couple of mine. Privileged Yet?

30

The same rule is preventing Anna and Nicholas Brown's neighbor from displaying a confederate flag in their window, or any of the hideous hand drawn signs Trump fans are so eager to display.

The lease says no signs of any kind.

What is so hard to understand?

31

@22 the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights impose restrictions on the Government, not individuals, or businesses.

So long as they are applying the rule the same to every tenant there is no court case. Also if it is mentioned in the lease, that the tenants signed, then there's no recourse.

Anna and Nicholas Brown need to ask themselves if this is the hill they wish to die on, because if they fight this battle, they will lose.

32

you're 'funny' jacky
speaking of:

White
Entitlement
will Brook
no Others
Before it.

33

We have wordage about “design changes” and exterior signage with the leases we make tenants sign. And we have occasional enforced tenants who do stupid shit - like adhere vinyl signs to the stucco exterior of one of our retail spaces (stucco has to breath). But there are strict limits on this. Sorry all you arm chair legal experts.

Banning signage in windows, if they are on the inside, is not really enforceable.

We tried once with two business tenants who were having a war with each other, putting signs with insults on them in their windows. While hilarious, it was a pain in the ass. We could only remove signage that was obscene or could be proven to pose a danger, etc.

Contrary to libertarian belief there are laws that supersede what landlords can and cannot enforce.

However if it turns out by some miracle tenants can be evicted for posting political expression then I will gladly evict my three MAGA tenants. I’ve been wanting to once the moratorium is over anyway. Since that will be cool with everyone.

34

@28, if you live in pdx, why post here constantly? pretty sure the mercury is your hometown rag...

35

“So long as they are applying the rule the same to every tenant there is no court case.”

Which would be impossible to prove. Nope. Doesn’t work that way. There is no way other tenants could prove if the landlord had been unfairly targeting certain speech. They’d literally have to have inside knowledge on every other rebate and the history of landlord. That would be an impossible standard.

36

gosh, guesty, did the Stranger invoke a Residency requirement?

some of my Schlogging Faves are not Seattleites
not that I giveaf Where the Fuck they happen to Reside.

"Banning signage in windows, if they are on the inside, is not really enforceable." --noted perfessor of Hiztory

Well, whaddaya Know?
Put it inside* and your Land Lord
can just Fuck Off.

*call it Art

37

@33:

"However if it turns out by some miracle tenants can be evicted for posting political expression then I will gladly evict my three MAGA tenants."

Whether or not you actually know their political beliefs is immaterial. I assume you still treat them with the same respect you give to your other tenants who you suspect as being for Biden.

38

It's not their property so I agree with the landlord here, they signed the lease with the no signs clause so they need to keep that agreement. That said, if I were them I'd wear BLM clothing, maybe even put BLM signs in my car windows while I'm driving around town, I'm pretty sure their lease doesn't cover that.

39

@23 Sir Toby II is correct. The First Amendment only prohibits THE GOVERNMENT from abridging people’s right to speak freely; it does not apply to private agreements between private parties like employers/employees or landlords/tenants. In fact, the First Amendment originally only applied to the federal government (“CONGRESS shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”), but I believe the Supreme Court has interpreted the 14th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War, to "incorporate" this prohibition, so that it applies to state governments and their subsidiaries. In any event, the First Amendment clearly does not apply to this situation.

As for the notion that this may have a disparate impact on people based on their income/wealth (for example, if you can afford to buy a house you can put up whatever sign you want in your window, but if you can only afford to rent from a landlord you can’t), that doesn’t change the analysis. The reality is that you generally have more freedom to do more of what you want in life if you have more money (buy your own house, a car, travel, etc.). But that's just life; it has nothing to do with the Constitution.

40

https://youtu.be/IGgiasHFtwU

41

@39. To my mind, the Constitution was designed to uphold the lowest commoner's right to self expression, no matter what "indulgences" afforded the wealthy unjust amplification of their mercantile agenda, such that they can dehumanize and squelch a working class too crushed by life to rise above the inequities dismissed as " just life" by those who passively refuse them a seat at the table. And yes, they rent the space, but no contract should supersede governmental authority outside inalienable rights endowed to all "by the creator," due to a private contract forgoing legality and ethics. Particularly when the government is for sale, then everything is pay to win, and in our society that makes for de facto wage slavery in padded hamster cages.

I personally believe no private contractual obligation should supersede an individual's Constitional rights insofar as compromise is reasonable. But I also have to ask myself if I owned a rental home if I would be okay with them flying a giant offensive flag in the yard as a matter of free speech.

42

https://youtu.be/c6KuZyOc8os

43

But the sky is orange and the windows are covered in ash so who gives a shit

44

@41 Garb, again some good points.

@31 Sir Toby immediately defaults to a narrow interpretation without considering the context of that interpretation. We have new contexts that call for new interpretations. On the flip side of the same coin, they will default to a broad interpretation of the 2nd amendment where all the specific words like "well regulated militia" go out the window along with 200 years of advancements in firearms to rationalize school children being mowed down.

Government makes the laws and put the systems in place that allow landlords to enforce the contracts tenants are compelled to agree to (it's the simple minded that argue "just go rent someplace else"). If those contracts prevent free speech because of the laws that government makes, there's an argument that government is limiting free speech.

However property owners should have rights as well. If I'm a property owner renting out the ADU in my back yard, why should I have to look at a Trump sign every day that my tenant puts up in their window. How about a Nazi flag?

It may be simple contractually (if unenforceable as the Prof suggests), but it's fairly complicated to balance the rights of property owners vs the rights of renters.

45

@44. Thanks, PiP. Your writing and cogent thought process is admirable.

46

@33 Seattle adds "political ideology" to its list of protected classes barred from illegal discrimination. If you choose to kick out tenants merely because you disagree with them on politics, prepare to reap the whirlwind.

47

Rich, if this were a MAGA sign or a swastika, would you have written this compilation of words passing for a story? I doubt it. Contracts are contracts. You sign your name on the dotted line, then you're to follow the rules. Just thank the stars that this language is in the contract, otherwise we'd see confederate flags, or god forbid, Oregon Duck flags in people's windows.

48

One more time, since a lot of people seem to be missing it: you can OWN a CONDO (even an expensive one) and your HOA will not allow signage of any kind - EVEN "For Sale" or "For Rent". AND they can dictate what color curtains you put up. Even. Though. You. Own. The. Unit.

This is not about the socio-economic status of the people in the building, it is about buliding managers and HOA organizations preferring a clean, unified look to a multi-unit building. The idea being thrown around that not permitting signage is a nefarious plot against non-property owners is ridiculous.

50

@41 - despite what any of us "personally believe," the Bill of Rights provides protection against government action, not anything that other citizens do. The First AMendment does not require any other citizen to let ou say what you want on his property.

As to the Second Amendment argument made above, while I fully agree that the way the "well regulated militia" clause is being ignored is a yuuge problem, the analogy would be with whether the Second Amendment prevented a property owner (i.e., Starbucks, or a bar owner) from barring firearms n the premises.

51

"And you can count, on me, waiting for you in the parking lot"

52

"But I don't want to follow the terms of my lease! Why should I have to follow the terms of my lease? I mean I know I signed the lease agreeing to all of its stipulations but I want to put up my sign!"

Whether you like it or not the terms of the lease stipulate you can not put up signs in your windows. There is no if ands or buts about it. Would we be having this discussion at all if the tenants put up a nazi flag?

53

@51 lol

54

This seems like a no-brainer (at least to everyone but your typical weed-addled Seattle SJW). The lease says no signs. If you don’t like it, either move to an apartment where the landlord doesn’t care or go buy your own damn place.

Can’t afford your own place? Too bad, so sad, call yo dad. Maybe you should’ve stayed awake in school and taken the hard courses, and got a job doing shit that people were willing to pay you decent money to do.

55

The tenants can do plenty of things to annoy them without breaking the lease, like the guy painting it on his truck and parking there.

56

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a perfect example of Nimbyism.