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Can Apartment Complexes Ban Guns?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Mr.Blue, Nov 29, 2011.

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  1. Mr.Blue

    Mr.Blue Member

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    I've owned my own home for the last ten years, but am relocating to Bethesda, MD. I will rent for a few years, as I'm not sure I will like it there.

    I was wondering if apartment complexes can LEGALLY ban firearms from the apartments. I haven't seen the lease yet, but I'm thinking in advance. I have to buy a safe now. I had a secret room in my old house and didn't have to worry. If the management sees a safe being delivered, they will know I have guns.

    Anyone know for sure? I saw old threads on this, but I'm not sure if things have changed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  2. MrSpiffy

    MrSpiffy Member

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    I have to preface by saying that I'm definitely not a lawyer, so anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. However, I don't believe they are allowed to ban guns, except maybe on community grounds, like a pool or something. If it's your apartment, then (as far as I'm aware) by law it's considered your personal dwelling. It's not like walking into a place of business. It's basically the same as if you owned the place, when it comes to firearms. If it's legal, they can't stop you, as long as you're not doing any damage. It's a constitutionally-protected right.
     
  3. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    It's private property. They have the right not to lease to a gun owner.
     
  4. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    They can ban farting and nasty bowel movements but that doesn't mean it will stop!

    What they don't know won't hurt them.
     
  5. Mr.Blue

    Mr.Blue Member

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    I'm just worried about storing them without a safe. If I get a safe, they will see it.
     
  6. au01st

    au01st Member

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    Safes can store things besides guns. Maybe you have a coin collection? Unless you get a unit right by the office, they would never see or care about a safe being delivered. Could always get it yourself and bring it home after office hours.

    I lived in an apartment for a year. They didn't allow guns. They also didn't allow a variety of other things that went on around the complex. Didn't stop anyone and it may be more of a CYA for the apartment complex.
     
  7. evan price

    evan price Member

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    If a term is in the lease and you sign the lease that means you agree to the terms. If they put in the lease NO GUNS and you sign it, you agree to it. If however something is not specifically excluded in the lease, once you sign the lease and move in, it is your domocile and they have no way of preventing you from any otherwise lawful activity that does not endanger the security, safety or peaceful enjoyment of the surrounding renters.
     
  8. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Just read the lease carefully. Once you sign it becomes a legaly binding contract until it expires. If there is nothing in the lease about guns DON'T ASK!
     
  9. jmstevens2

    jmstevens2 Member

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    Many will not allow the safe due to live loads of the flooring system. Used to do that to waterbeds too.
    Here in Ohio, I can inspect the common parts of the building. Unless you ask me in, I cannot enforce the fire code in the apartment because it is a residence.
    I cannot speak to NC. Can they access your gun purchase info from the police? I know my brother had to get some sort of permit to purchase his handguns. I don't know, just a thought.
     
  10. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    jmstevens2 is right about the weight restrictions. I used to live downstairs in an appartment built on a concrete slab and I had a waterbed. When I moved out I sold it to a neighbor upstairs only to find out that he was not allowed to have it upstairs. Long story short, he ended up moving into my old appartment so that he could keep the bed.

    If you have a safe be sure to get a downstairs appt. built on a slab.
     
  11. Thefabulousfink

    Thefabulousfink Member

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    The lease is the contract between the owner and the renter. You agree to abide by the rules that the owner sets in the lease and pay the fees, and the owner agrees to allow you to stay for the set period of time. If either party violates the lease, then the other party can take action against them. But, if you continue to meet your part of the lease, there is little the owner can do until the lease is up. I have lived in many Appts and only 1 had a No Guns clause. Most places that are owned by individuals or small companies just use the simplest lease form available, and those only mention illeagal substances. The one lease I saw that mentioned guns was off campus housing run by the university and the lease had been drawn by their lawyers.

    Read the lease carfully, most shouldn't be more than 2-3 pages. If it dosen't mention guns then you are fine. If your landlord later finds out about them and doesn't like them, well there is nothing they can do about it until the lease it up... but be ready to move right then. I don't think any of my landlords ever knew I had guns. Some might have cared, but most (if you are safe and responsible) will be more interested in having a renter that pays on time and isn't much trouble.
     
  12. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    Can you move to VA instead? MD is a terrible place to own firearms.
     
  13. BeerSleeper

    BeerSleeper Member

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    The safe will come in a box. For all anyone knows it's a refrigerator. If you're that worried about it, buy a safe locally, and unload it yourself in the middle of the night, silently. You'll need a truck, a friend, a dolly, and God help you if you try to do this and you don't get a ground level unit.

    You'll have to read the lease to know for sure what's in there. I would doubt you will see anything in there banning guns, but you may have a problem with the safe. Generally, when you lease, it is the same as if you own it with a few exceptions. You are generally expected not to damage the property, and not to modify the property.

    A large safe may not be permitted, for weight concerns. A light, small safe that isn't anchored actually makes theft easier. They basically pack all your guns up in one package for the potential thieves. It is unlikely you will be permitted to anchor your safe. Depending on the floor type, you may be able to do it without leaving permanent marks. Tile or wood floors will not work, but if it's carpet, you may be able to drop a few lag screws into floor joists, and the carpet should conceal the holes when you move out.
     
  14. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Also check your state laws. Some states prohibit landlord's from prohibiting lawful firearms possession. I am sure Maryland is not one of those states, though. Absent the state law, the landlord can ban anything they want to in the lease, and when you sign it, you agree to it.
     
  15. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    PURELY a state and local matter.

    What's legal in MD may not be legal in OH and vice versa.

    Ask a LAWYER in MD, preferably one who knows YOUR jurisdiction.
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Paint the safe like a frig. They'll never give it a second thought coming in. I guess sooner or later a maintenance person might see it, but they probably won't even mention it to the manager. If you call for maintenance, cover it.
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Most leases allow the apartment owner or manager to enter the premises under some conditions, which basically means about any time they want to (they "suspect" a gas leak, a fire, etc.), so they will probably see the safe anyway. One solution to getting it in is to get a modular safe (like a Zanotti) which comes in several boxes and could be a bed or a cablinet. A small modular safe can be assembled in a closet, though, which might help. Watch out for the ones that ban things as listed in some obscure county or city code or in some other document they happen to not have a copy of.

    Those "no gun" leases have been challenged in court, with mixed results. In MD, especially Montgomery County (run by anti-gun crazies), it is probably not worth bothering even if you had the money for lawyers and bribe money for our "honest" judges and politicians.

    Jim
     
  18. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Another thing to consider is your ammo- while they may or may not ban guns, they might ban anything considered flammable or explosive - gun powder, ammo, primers, etc. - just something else to check out
     
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    I'm not aware of any court challenges to "no guns" clauses in leases (except for some recent ones involving public housing, which would be a different matter entirely). Do you have any citations?

    Absent an applicable state statute or court decision, there would be no reason why a "no guns" clause would not be enforceable in a residential lease with a private (i. e., non-governmental) landlord. What can, and can not, be in a residential lease is usually heavily regulated by statute, but as far as I know only a few States (not sure which ones) have laws that would prohibit a "no guns" clause.
     
  20. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Unless the gentleman has a huge collection of firearms a safe that would hold a few rifles or handguns should weigh less then a fridge. I bought a safe from Dick's sporting goods and got in the house by myself,weighs maybe a hundred pounds and is nothing fancy but it does solve the storage problem. I did get a hernia from that moving job though.
     
  21. Artful

    Artful Member

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    highlander_5, sounds like you bought a Security Cabinet, my safe ways more than 1K lbs.

    Also if they do object in the lease, you can ask for a waiver from them, just make sure it's in writing so they can't give you a verbal then come back later and deny they did.

    Use the excuse like "My heritage from Father/Grandfather", kind of thing.
     
  22. akodo

    akodo Member

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    Not so. Property you rent to someone is a bit different than 'normal' private property. If I put an add on Craigslist to sell my lawn mower I can legally refuse to sell it to someone based on the color of their skin. If I offer property for rental, it would be illegal for me to refuse to rent it based on the color of their skin.

    Once the tenant has signed the lease THEY have more 'private property rights' than the actual owner does. The renter can come and go as they please, but the landlord needs to give 24 hour notice before entering unless not entering would cause great financial harm. (i.e. pipes spewing water)

    The landlord can write whatever he wants into the lease, however that doesn't make it legal. Exactly what can and cannot be included is generally covered under state laws.

    I have been exposed to many states where there are laws, rulings, and clarifications that bar the owner from banning firearms.

    The only places that I have ever seen that could legally ban tenants from having firearms were student housing apartments.
     
  23. Frozen North

    Frozen North Member

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    Weight of the safe may be an issue. If they ban waterbeds, you may wish to ask.
     
  24. mortablunt

    mortablunt Member

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    Yes they can. It's private property and their call as to whether or not they let you stay there. If they don't want guns, then they have the right to refuse service.
     
  25. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    Not to get off on a rant, but the landlord could not say No Irish, No Jews and well we all get the idea. Discrimination is the same no matter what is being discriminated against.
    If that came up in a Lease I'd strike it out and see what the landlord says. Maybe get the advise of a real Lawyer. Not a keyboard Barrister.
     
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