Is this even enforceable?


January 13, 2003, 01:31 PM
While looking through newspaper ads for apartments and duplexes, I've come across several that state that firearms are illegal to possess on the premises. I imagine that there would be a clause in the lease somewhere prohibiting firearms.

I'm not really looking for legal advice, but opinions on the issue.

First, how would they know?

Do you think that the policy would be enforceable if the owner found out? Would the owner have grounds to kick out the tenant?

Would you live there?

It occurs to me that this is another example of "advertising" that homeowners don't have firearms to defend themselves.

Anybody else seen this?

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January 13, 2003, 01:42 PM
I believe the owner can kick the tenant out if the tenant broke the rental contract. They'd have to follow whatever eviction rules there are, like 30 day notice, etc.

My contract says, "No pets", and yet I eventually brought in fish, two spiders, and two firebelly toads. My landlord actually didn't care, seeing how I'm a painless tenant and I pay on time. And the pets don't poop on the carpet or bother the neighbors. My insurance will take care of any problems if my aquarium explodes.

My contract didn't say anything about guns. I wouldn't live there if they specifically stated no guns were allowed.

While apt. hunting, I asked one potential landlord why he didn't allow guns. "Crime, etc." he stated, but quickly backpedaled and changed his mind when I told him I had a carry permit and why. I wasn't going to move in anyway - the apt. was dinky, but it was an interesting discussion that really opened his eyes... and mind.

January 13, 2003, 01:43 PM
First time I've ever heard anything like this. IANAL but I'd think that a property owner could put just about any restriction that they wish in a lease unless it wasn't specifically prohibited by law. It's their private property and they set the terms for it's use (within the law).

Would you live there?

I'd rather take up residence in a cardboard box before I'd allow myself to be subject to disarmament in my own residence.

January 13, 2003, 01:46 PM
In Utah, it is specifically written into the law that landlords and property owners cannot prohibit their tenants from having firearms in their apartments -- this includes college dorms (and is specifically written so).

Of course, what they don't know cannot hurt you, so I specifically shose not to advertise the fact that I have firearm(s) on the premises.

2nd Amendment
January 13, 2003, 01:51 PM
Rental contracts can be interesting things. There's the point that if you signed the contract you then knowingly violated it but some things just simply won't hold up in court if the renter wants to fight it, too. And evictions are problematical in some areas. Getting rid of a renter once he's in can be a nightmare.

If you leased a place and the landlord tried to toss you for this would you fight it in court? If so you might have a case and might win, but why bother? It'll probably fly since very few gun owners will even take a second look at such a place. I wouldn't.

January 13, 2003, 01:51 PM
The first apartment I lived in at college had a 'no firearms' clause in the lease. I see it as a property rights issue. If a landlord wants to say 'no guns' or 'purple polka-dot shirts on Tuesday' that's their right and their perogative. Though to be completely honest, I'd say that most of what was written into the lease was nothing more than 'CYA' stuff.

January 13, 2003, 01:56 PM
I like to hold to the theory that if it's yours, you can pretty much do as you like with it.
I wouldn't want to live any place that didn't allow firearms and even more wouldn't want to live in a place that advertised it.
Living there would be like putting up a sign that says "rob this complex, they'er ALL unarmed, so it's safer".

Chris Rhines
January 13, 2003, 02:13 PM
My apartment had a "no firearms" clause in the lease. I told the rental agent that that was not acceptable, and she took the lease into the big bosses' office and came back a minute later with that clause stricken out. Much better.

Negoitation is your friend.

- Chris

January 13, 2003, 02:46 PM

January 13, 2003, 03:36 PM
If you realy want to live in the place I would talk to them and as a previous poster said negotiate. Most thiongs in a lease are not as rock solid as they may originaly appear. I am suprosed by the number of posts that have alredy said that places have not allowed them. The most I have seen is that the only time you may have a firearm outside of your personal apt is when tranfering it to a vehicle.

January 13, 2003, 03:50 PM
In CA - believe it or not, your campsite or your hotel or home or apartment are considered your home while you are there and you can have a gun there.

I do not think such a rule could hold up in court at all - I think it is just something they think they need to put in there to discourage crime.

If you ignored it and it became an issue, you could play hardball with them. Renters generally have more rights than landlords.

You could out lawyer them - ask how they know you have a gun, that it is a real gun, that it is yours and not your friends, you could do all kinds of thing - make them maintain the hell out of the apartment, withold rent because the dishwasher does not do a proper rinse cycle, etc.

The best policy would just be to stay low profile - you probably have more to worry about from thieves than from nosy landlords.

January 13, 2003, 04:15 PM
I'm with Justin. As much as I desire and respect RKBA, I also think property rights are God-given. If the landlord wants a no firearms clause I think they should have the right to put that in the lease. I'll just rent an apartment somewhere else.

g ;)

January 13, 2003, 04:19 PM
I think it depends on your state's definition of private property as it relates to a rental. In CA, I can't dictate much, certainly not prohibiting gun ownership (I wonder if I can require a gun...).

I put a "no illegal drugs" in my leases simply to cover my assets in the event that a tenant starts doing something stupid, like dealing while occupying my property: local PD loves to seize property to bolster their budget. This may simply be a deep pockets CYA clause in case a burglar is shot or the like.

Ed N.
January 13, 2003, 04:44 PM
I'm an engineer, not a lawyer, but I suspect you'll find that any clause in a contract that violates the law can't be enforced. For example, suppose the landlord had a clause banning you from praying in your apartment. It would never hold up, because the contract can't trump the first amendment.

Now, most states outside of the PRK and the PRNJ recognize at least SOME RKBA. Even many of the states without CCW would recognize a right to have arms in your home.

So I suspect few courts (even today) would back him up on banning firearms in your home, depending upon which state you're in. Doesn't matter if the home is leased or not, it's still your home.

Just my opinion, and worth what you paid for it.

January 13, 2003, 04:53 PM
Vote with your feet, and patronize a more right minded operation.
Which is what you are doing.


January 13, 2003, 05:29 PM
In Virginia, it is illegal to prohibit possession of firearms by tenants.

January 13, 2003, 05:30 PM
In VA, landlords are specifically prohibited from banning firearms.


January 13, 2003, 11:06 PM
I've never seen that in WA, my current landlady knows I have guns and knows to give me a call if she needs anything, luckily the police station is right around the corner from here and we have very little crime, I think we've only had one car break-in in the last year, not bad for a 300+ unit complex.

January 13, 2003, 11:17 PM
Why would you or anyone want to live an apartment complex where robbers know everone is unarmed. Tell the landlord he is looking at a lawsuit if you rent from him and you get robbed because it is common knowledge that everone living there is unarmed.

January 14, 2003, 12:27 AM
Not illegal. A landlord can't enact laws by fiat. He can, however, prohibit guns in a lease agreement, and his only recourse would be to evict you for breach of contract.

No, I wouldn't live there.

January 14, 2003, 12:29 AM
There is a program called the Crime Free Multi-unit Housing program that is pushed by the police in many cities. Its intent is to train landlords and property managers into writing good rental agreements that will allow the landlord or property manager to evict "problem" tenants without much trouble. Since many states, like the PDRK, allow tenants to sue their landlord or property manager for not dealing swiftly with problem tenants, it is to the landlord's advantage to follow the CFMH program guidelines.

I am on a mailing list of CFMH police officers and I am astounded at some of the things landlords and property managers are expected to do to become "certified" under CFMH. It may very well be this property manager was encouraged by the local PD's CFMH to put a no firearms clause in the rental agreement.

January 14, 2003, 01:23 AM
Just scratch through the gun provision before signing. You don't even have to say anything.

Bob Locke
January 14, 2003, 02:13 AM
The owner (landlord) should be allowed to operate his property as he sees fit. He has that right. If the two of you enter into an agreement, then both are bound by it. IOW, if you voluntarily sign a lease that states "no firearms", and then you violate that provision, then you are in the wrong and should be subject to whatever provisions are spelled out in the contract. Your rights would NOT have been violated, because the agreement would be mutually entered into.

I also find it disturbing that some states place restrictions on rental contracts (such as mentioned in Virginia). That's NOT a good thing, IMO, even though it may promote a more gun-friendly environment. It's a property rights issue, and the owner should have the say not the renter or state.

January 14, 2003, 02:28 AM
Why the heck would you even consider living in a place thats got such a dumb rule?

Matt G
January 14, 2003, 04:06 AM
Also be careful: if it's operated in any way by H.U.D. (and that doesn't only mean inner city ghetto; there are some nice places that have H.U.D. input), there may well be some Federal restrictions on gun ownership. This came to light most in Chicago, where HUD cops were able to go into tenements to round up guns, "to stop gang violence." Nevermind that they weren't doing much to stop the gangbangers and were only disarming even the innocent tennants!
:fire: :mad: :cuss: :fire:

January 15, 2003, 09:49 PM
My gosh, can you imagine the liability to them if you get attacked and can't defend yourself because they won't let you have a gun?

And how about advertising to the whole criminal world that "our tenants have no guns, they are defenseless".

January 15, 2003, 10:38 PM
>I'm with Justin. As much as I desire and respect RKBA, I also think property rights are God-given.

I know I certainly agree with the 1st inclination that the property owner has property rights. However, a tenant has rights that are close to "property rights" as a renter of a dwelling even tho' it is "owned" by another. Many people over-look this. There are many legal, historical and moral reasons why...............................................

Of course the actual "laws" re this issue do vary from state to state.

January 15, 2003, 11:32 PM
In TX, your apartment, hotel, house, whatever, is your residence and you are allowed to possess firearms on the premises of your residence.

The landlord may "own" (actually the bank probably owns it...) the property but he has only limited say in what goes on in what is legally defined as your residence.

Check your local laws, but I think that's the rule.

January 16, 2003, 01:18 PM
Isn't this on par with prohibiting a renter from praying in their apartment (i.e. free exercise of religion) -- which, it seems, would land the landlord in court.

January 16, 2003, 01:38 PM
It's really a simple issue. Unless the particular state makes such a provision illegal (and most don't I believe), if you've signed the lease and that provision is in there, then you've agreed to waive your right to possess a firearm on the premises for the duration of the lease. If you don't want to do that, find someplace else. If you didn't know the provision was in the lease, you should have read it more closely.

January 16, 2003, 04:11 PM
Is this even enforceable?

That's the entire problem with laws, rules, and regulations.

Absent 24-hour surveillance, name one that is enforceable if the second party declines to keep their word...

January 16, 2003, 04:27 PM
I think it's enforceable in the sense that you could be evicted for non-compliance.

January 16, 2003, 05:02 PM
I would bring up that you o have firearms and if they want to rent to you, that your personal property is your business. As long as you are legal to own it should be your right to protect yourself.

January 16, 2003, 06:24 PM
jmurman - that's the same thing "they" are saying. That they have property to rent and if you want to rent it you must not bring your firearms. It's a simple contractual agreement.

g ;)

January 16, 2003, 06:31 PM
Rent somewhere else.


January 16, 2003, 06:49 PM
Rules - the heck with em.

So you pay your rent on time, don't make noise, and don't tear things up ... you think they're gonna kick you out because you have a .38 under your pillow?

So what if they do ... it's their loss of revenue.

Beer for my Horses
January 16, 2003, 07:13 PM
Restrictive covenants are valid unless they conflict with statutory law or the Constitution. Though the 9th Circuit disagrees, a good argument could be made in other jurisdictions (see Emerson) that a restrictive covenant forbidding a lessee from possessing firearms in his residence violates the Constitution and is thus invalid and unenforceable. No landlord would want to go to court over the issue; but it seems that the landlords that have included such provisions in leases are just trying to cover their butts in case some Plaintiff's Attorney comes after them in the event of a shooting on the landlord's property.

January 17, 2003, 11:35 AM
And again we have a misunderstanding of what the Constitution does. The Constitution's sole purpose is to set up the government and grant certain powers to said government, while precluding it from engaging in other activities. It has absolutely no application to interaction between citizens. A restrictive covenant is a contract between two citizens, and the Constitution has no impact on it whatsoever.

January 17, 2003, 11:57 AM
The owner (landlord) should be allowed to operate his property as he sees fit. He has that right. If the two of you enter into an agreement, then both are bound by it. IOW, if you voluntarily sign a lease that states "no firearms", and then you violate that provision, then you are in the wrong and should be subject to whatever provisions are spelled out in the contract. Your rights would NOT have been violated, because the agreement would be mutually entered into.

Bingo and well said. Gentlemen, property rights are foundational to any free society. Rights are a package deal - if we don't defend them all, we lose them all.

Your only morally acceptable options are to negotiate or vote with your feet. If you use one of the freedom destroying laws that have been mentioned to gain YOUR right to have guns, all your arguments for freedom are made with a forked tongue. :(

Beer for my Horses
January 17, 2003, 03:23 PM
Sorry buzz knox, you're mistaken,
The Constitution has repeatedly struck down restrictive covenants that violate its provisions. Most notably, restrictive covenants prohibiting the sale of property to blacks were struck down pursuant to the Civil Rights Act and sec. 5 of the 14th Amendment. Arizona had some neighborhoods with such covenants. You also, for example, cannot enter into an enforceable contract to enslave someone as it would violate the 13th Amendment, and on and on.

January 18, 2003, 10:08 PM

I have to respectively disagree.

Renting a dwelling is a special case and there is historical/case law which says there are fundamental agreements between a landlord and a tenant that transcend an agreement such as we are discussing.

Please don't take this to mean I am not a strong believer in the sanctity of property rights. It is just on this one point I disagree.

Let me ask you a question. Can a landlord ask you to now possess a bible on "his" property? OK, he could ask it but I can't see him enforcing it legally or practically.

Just my 2cents worth, YMMV..

January 18, 2003, 10:49 PM
It looks like the cultural war is heating up. I like the way Virgin, UT handles it. City ordinance mandates that every legal adult that has the means own a firearm and ammo for that firearm.

January 18, 2003, 11:50 PM
I deal with a couple dozen families on a rental basis. If H.U.D. can restrict firearms - I gotta question whether that would stand up to much serious court time - it probably would work in a rental contract. Probably depends on where you are and the political climate. If you are generally a good tenant and don't violate safety laws with massive and careless powder/ammo storage you may be under a "I didn't ask and you don't tell" type situation. Everyone is trying to cover their butts. If insurance carriers demand compliance, we're all in a fix. If it is part of someone's political or religious agenda, sounds like it is time for civil rights stuff. There was a lawsuit awhile back because someone didn't want to rent to anyone unmarried and non christian. Don't remember how far it went, but I recall landlord lost.
The absolute worst I can imagine is eviction and maybe suite for part of the remaining lease if any? Actually worse would be the costs involved on both sides lawyering up. Where is the NRA when they are needed?

January 19, 2003, 09:17 PM
chas_martel, I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. Such a clause as you mention is certainly unenforceable under today's laws and court rulings. I wasn't talking about what is enforceable, but what is morally right - what is consistent with our claim to be a freedom loving people.

If WE go to court to get a judge to throw out the onerous regulation, we are saying that it's okay for a judge to abrogate the property rights of the owner because HIS rights inconvenience us. If a liberal does the same to do the same kind of thing, we scream about property rights. That's hypocritical.

If a landlord tells me that he doesn't allow guns or Bibles on his property, that's his right. And I will take my business elsewhere. That's my right.

But I don't have a right to force him to change his rules for his property. I'm not forced to be on his property, so I can't argue that he's violating my RKBA. I have a choice to be there or not. He has the right to set the conditions under which I can be on (or rent) his property.

Is we agreed? Or is we not?


January 19, 2003, 09:58 PM
I'm with you, Quartus. ;)

January 20, 2003, 07:12 AM
It's about contract law... whatever is stipulated in the contract that you agree to, is probably enforceable...

If it says no eating pizza on the first full moon of the month, then that's the contract..

I wouldn't live somewhere with a law like that though...

Matt G
January 20, 2003, 08:06 AM
Buzz is right, folks.

Don't give up your rights. That includes your rights as a property owner. If you were the owner of a duplex and didn't want people to store reloading equipment with gunpowders (smokeless, semi-smokeless, and black powder) on premises, that would be your right, wouldn't it? Of course it would.

The property owner and their agents have the right to define the ground rules, before you rent. They just have to be spelled out in writing, first. Now, if they suddenly pull these rules out of the air after you've signed the lease, well, then, that's not cricket. But give them their due: they have the rights to manage their property as they see fit.

Rights work for EVERYONE.

January 20, 2003, 08:20 AM
Hoploholic, that ordinance is similar to the one in Kennesaw, Georgia, near where I live, where every household is required to have a gun in their house (they can get a waiver, of course, it's more symbolic than anything else).

I've never even heard of a rental agreement banning firearms on the premises, and I lived in rented apartments for a pretty long time. Must be something new that the misinformed are trying to foist on others in the name of "reducing crime".

January 20, 2003, 10:58 PM

>Is we agreed? Or is we not?

Hmm, to be honest with you at this point I don't know.

Lets use another example. Say I own an apartment complex and I decide I don't want christians living there. Is that OK? What if I don't want white people living there?

I believe that if you put an apartment up for rent you enter into an area where you do lose a bit of say about your property.

That being said I am able intelectually (sp?) rationalize the belief you should be able to exclude white people from renting your property.

This is similar to the area of law shop keepers enter when they open their doors to the public. Legally, and to me personally, when you open your doors to the public you live by a differning set of "rules" than when you are "private".

I dunno, I got to think about it some more.

January 24, 2003, 10:12 AM
Lets use another example. Say I own an apartment complex and I decide I don't want christians living there. Is that OK? What if I don't want white people living there?

As stated earlier, restrictive covenants can be controlled by law. The examples of discrimination you give are prohibited by law in most states and by the national government, assuming you fall within the rather loose jurisdiction (i.e. offering a certain level of housing to the public). So, the examples aren't valid in this context. If you were only leasing a house or something like that, you might have the right to deny said people (most anti-discrimination laws have "mom and pop" exceptions).

January 26, 2003, 10:21 AM
Buzz, again we are talking about two different things. You are obviously correct about the currrent state of law, but I am diuscussing what OUGHT to be the current state of law - clearly (and sadly) two different things!

BTW, about this...

The Constitution has repeatedly struck down restrictive covenants that violate its provisions

No, the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down restrictive covenants that (it says) violate [the Constitution's] provisions. The Constitution doesn't strike down anything - it just sits there. It can't defend itself.

It depends on us to do that.

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