This weekend’s Denver Post reported that a Boulder, Colorado couple was discriminated against by their landlord. The couple was gardening in thong undies and the neighbors were complaining to police of indecent exposure. But the police couldn’t do anything because the couple’s private parts were covered and they were within their legal rights. After police wouldn’t do anything, the community complained to the landlord, who then threatened to evict the couple if they didn’t put on more clothes. The landlord says this is a community issue and it has every right to evict the couple.
So this begs the question, what do you do with tenants who you feel are causing a nuisance to your property or who are doing things you don’t believe in?
Let’s look at a few examples.
First the nudists. They are not breaking any laws if they wear underwear outside. And it’s no one’s business how they dress when inside. So, yes, legally they can do what they want. As for it being a community issue, that depends on the neighborhood’s HOA rules and bylaws.
But take this a step further. What if someone hangs a Confederate Flag, swastika or other racist paraphernalia on your property? Is that okay? The legal answer to this isn’t clear because this is a very emotional and controversial topic. If this happens, you may need to hire a lawyer because clear lines have not been drawn over whether you have a constitutional right to do this given the subject matter of these images.
That all said, you may have contractual rights if you took steps to prevent these kinds of things from happening in the first place.
Always make sure you have an air-tight lease agreement. Your lease should contain a clause that the tenant agrees to abide by the Covenants, Conditions and Regulations of the homeowner or neighborhood association and they understand that fines may be assessed and that eviction is possible.
Understand your state’s law. In Denver, property owners have rights, but cities with rent control give the owners almost no rights.
A great thing about corporate housing is that tenants don’t move in all their furniture or live a home for years. They generally have less vested in a home and are less likely to create a nuisance … although trust me, those sticky issues rear their ugly head from time to time so you want to be prepared for anything and everything in the world of landlording.