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Guns and lease agreements

Discussion in 'Legal' started by qwert65, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. qwert65

    qwert65 Well-Known Member

    Hi all, I am contemplating moving to a different state I'm having trouble finding an apartment/house in the area that doesn't have a no firearms policy- these seem to be boiler-plate like the restricted dog breeds most of them have(German sheperds really?). In my youth I lived for a year(saving for a house) in a apartment with these rules after a shooting in the neighborhood I brought a gun back from my parents and kept it in the house figuring they could just ask me to leave.
    In the same situation today (as a licensed vet) I don't want to get in any trouble. Does anyone know if these have the for e of law or I get asked to leave worst case?
  2. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Well-Known Member

    Without knowing the state, I'd bet eviction is all they can do.
  3. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    every big city and most states have a 'housing office' that deals with landlord/rentor issues, they would know the applicable laws for your state.
  4. psyopspec

    psyopspec Well-Known Member

    As an alternative, you could look for a homeowner to rent a room from on Craigslist. That's what I'm doing right now while deciding if I want to permanently move to a new area. When I met up I asked for a copy of his lease agreement and just asked what his thoughts were on his tenants being gun owners. Got it cleared up right away.

    The usual warnings apply, secure your stuff, don't be a craigslist killer victim, etc.
  5. primalmu

    primalmu Well-Known Member

    Also, keep in mind that a lot of these places use a generic lease that they didn't make up themselves. I was going to move into a place a few years ago when I moved to MS and noticed that the lease said no guns. I called them up and talked to the land lord, told them I own guns and have a concealed carry permit, and they were fine with it.
  6. qwert65

    qwert65 Well-Known Member

    The state is MD if it was just me I'd go the Craigslist route, however I have a fiancé, dog, and cat.
  7. soloban

    soloban Well-Known Member

    What they don't know can't hurt em...
  8. razorback2003

    razorback2003 Well-Known Member

    You probably would not be breaking any law by keeping a pistol at your apartment. About all they could do over that is just ask you to move out.

    No way would i let something like that keep me from protecting myself at home.
  9. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    A lease is a contract. If you don't abide by the terms, you can be evicted.
  10. vamo

    vamo Well-Known Member

    There is a good chance if you ask for an exemption you could get it, just make sure that you get it in writing.
  11. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    I once had a landlord with this in the lease. As far as I'm concerned, they are compelling you to give up a SCOTUS-upheld civil right to obtain housing. In my opinion, this ranks right up there with refusing to rent to racial minorities and ought to be illegal.

    My advice: it's not a LAW, it's a discriminatory housing practice. Ignore it and press on.
  12. CarolinaChuck

    CarolinaChuck member

    My wife is in real estate and deals with these kinds of thing. Sign the lease and keep your yap shut... This is not like sneaking a dog or horse onto the property that could actually do damage to his property, and the land owner really does not have any business in asking the question.

    He can be a twit and put in on a lease if he wants, but he will look like the twit he is in a court of law in front of a judge. You have a legal right to keep and bare arms in this country, to protect yourself, your family and property; and he has no business to infringe on those rights, or to require you to give up those rights by contract.

  13. sean326

    sean326 Well-Known Member

    I've got a dozen apartment buildings, I use the state board of realtors lease. It's not bad and complies with all the laws, it's even a 4 part carbon less form so you just pull it apart and hand the tenant their copy. There is not a word about guns in it.

    Also remember leases are negotiable, you could just cross out that paragraph and initial it, if the owner/manager is a gun guy he may just shrugg his shoulders and sign it.

    As a last resort just don't worry about it, put you gun cases in a hockey bag when you move them back and forth from your apartment to your car. If you get caught apologize and say they were a friends you'll be returning them. By the time that happens 3 or 4 times you'll be moving out into your own home on the range or with a range.
  14. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    It's a civil contract, not criminal law. Let them try to enforce thier rules.
  15. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Unless there is a state law prohibiting a "no guns" clause in a residential lease (and AFAIK only one State, I think Michigan, has such a law), a "no guns" clause is valid and enforceable. That means you are subject to eviction if you are caught in violation. An eviction can be reported to credit reporting agencies and affect your future ability to get credit -- and might also affect your employment.

    Also, as far as I'm concerned people with integrity don't enter into contracts they don't intend to abide by. We like to talk fondly of the days when a man's word was his bond and he kept his promises. If anyone wonders why it doesn't seem to be that way anymore, he only has to look at some of the responses in this thread.

    Property rights mean something too. It's the landlord's property. He has the right to determine on what terms he is willing to allow someone to live in his property, as long as his terms don't violate the law. If you're not willing to abide by his terms, the right thing to do is look elsewhere.


    You should make an effort to learn a little something about the laws related to discrimination.

    1. The Constitution is completely irrelevant here. The Constitution does not regulate private conduct. The Supreme Court has made that clear.

      As explained by the United States Supreme Court (Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company, Inc, 500 U.S. 614 (U. S. Supreme Court, 1991), emphasis added):

      [*] Yes, a "no guns" clause in a residential lease is discrimination, but in general discrimination is perfectly legal.

      Every time you decide to shop in this store rather than that, you have discriminated. Every time you decide to buy this rather than that, you have discriminated.

      Businesses discriminate all the time too, and legally. Apple stores discriminate against people who want to buy a PC by only selling Apple computers. Many restaurants discriminate against Orthodox Jews or Muslims by not strictly following the dietary laws of those religions. Many restaurants also discriminate against persons not wearing shirts and/or shoes by not admitting them. Tiffany discriminates against poor people in the prices they charge.

      Discrimination is merely choosing one thing over another or rejecting a possible choice. Discrimination is the very essence of freedom and private property. It is the right to choose. It is the right to exclude. It is the right to decide how you want to use your property. Discrimination is perfectly legal, unless some law makes it illegal.

    2. To the extent it may be illegal for a landlord to discriminate, it's because of a statute and not the Constitution.

      There are laws that make discrimination illegal on various, specifically identified and defined bases such as race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and some others, illegal -- at least if you're a landlord, a business open to the public, an employer or in some other specified category. These various anti-discrimination laws only prohibit discrimination on those various specified grounds. Having a gun isn't one of them.

      The leasing of residential property is also heavily regulated by statute. There are laws about clauses that have to be in a lease and about clauses that may not be in a lease. There are laws about the rights of tenants.

    3. Conflicting rights often rub against each other, and when they do, it's been customary in our system for a legislative body to decide priorities and enact laws to ameliorate the rubbing.

      Landlords renting residential property are subject to substantial regulation. The various requirements, regulations and rules to which a residential landlord is subject arose through the political process in which interested parties can participate; and they therefore reflect a considered determination by a legislative body or authorized administrative agency that as a matter of public policy the public interest served by the requirement, regulation or rule was sufficient to justify impairment of the property rights of the landlord.
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    The best thing to do is rent from small-scale landlords rather than through a PMC. They just want a quiet tenant who pays on time and usually don't try to foist five pages of boilerplate on you.
  17. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Also small-scale landlords will also often be more open to negotiating modifications to their lease form, especially if you have made a good impression on them.
  18. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    Mr. Ettin, respectfully, I didn't suggest the guns clause IS illegal or unenforceable, because I'm well aware that it is legal and enforceable. What I said was that it OUGHT to be illegal. Obviously, this is only my opinion, and others are free to disagree.

    As far as anyone's thoughts about my 'integrity', I have been known on occasion to display a shockingly amoral tendency where law and politics are concerned, particularly where they boil down to use of coercion. Again, that's just me, and nobody has to agree with my attitudes or actions (many have ventured to disagree over the years). I'm aware this can and often does have consequences I may not find pleasant. We all make our own choices.

    Given the choice between being unable to find suitable housing for my family, or dishonest enough to live somewhere suitable while maintaining the ability to defend my family... well, I've been there, and made my own decisions. I share only because the OP asked.
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    So you do understand that such clauses are in fact legal and enforceable (except in perhaps one State). Whether you think they ought to be legal is irrelevant to the OP's issue.

    So it seems that you admit to taking a very situational and flexible view of the importance of keeping your commitments. I'd hope you're at least forthright enough about that to disclose it to anyone you enter into a contract with.
  20. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    I don't view it as a matter of situational morality, but as a matter of most compelling obligation. As my obligation to protect and provide for my family outweighs (in my judgement) my obligation to be honest with a landlord about such, I make my decisions accordingly.

    I'm well aware that I won't always be the FINAL arbiter of such decisions... but I will be the first. That I admit freely and without apology.

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