How would YOU keep a confederate flag off your property?

22 Replies

I am getting ready to rent my first property in Greenfield Indiana. You would think Greenfield is situated in the deep south. Yes, I went through a redneck phase where I dipped tobacco and wore cowboy boots, but eventually I got out of high school. 

I've read rental agreements that talk about keeping the property looking up to standards (ie no long grass, cars on cinder blocks, etc) but how would you keep somebody from flying a confederate flag? It seems like a silly thing to be concerned about, but trust me it's not around here. Less than a block away flies a rebel flag on a tall flagpole. I'm telling you the flag is on nearly every corner. I personally am not offended by it, and I'm a huge supporter of state's rights, but I want to make sure my properties are professional in appearance.

It falls under free speech .  How would you keep a nazi flag , a mexican flag , or a dont tread on me  flag .   All flags can represent something that bothers someone else .  I like the fact that I live in a free country and can fly ANY flag I want 

If there's one very important life lesson I've learned in the past year, it's "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." 

I understand the amendment, and I also understand that it's a common scapegoat for the stupid actions of numerous individuals. I want to know how to mitigate it and improve the communities that I invest in.

or another option would be to send letters to all tenants with new owner new rules and state that no outside decorations on walls etc will be allowed. ? thats the best i could think of. hope that helps or at leasts sparks an idea. best of luck 

You should probably prohibit the flying of any flags on the exterior of the property.  But then what will you do if they hang it in a window?  You can only go so far.  

Since it's already very visible on the surrounding homes - I wouldn't even bother. {I wouldn't bother to begin with].

It sounds like you may alienate some potential good tenants if you have something in the lease about it since it's already flying in the neighborhood.

     If this issue is important to you screen your tenants carefully. Many who would be inclined to fly the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (this is most likely the flag you are actually concerned about) will also display the symbol on their car, their key chain or, perhaps, on their cigarette lighter. You might visit their current residence to see if your prospective tenant is currently displaying it.

     I suspect that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to evict a tenant over displaying a flag of any kind if they are current on their rent and abiding by the rest of the terms of their lease even if you specifically included a clause prohibiting the display of all flags. You might consider only renting your unit on a month to month basis so you could terminate the lease quickly if someone might try to exercise their right to free speech in spite of your wishes.

I don't know that I would attempt to place a restriction like that on a tenant. 

Treat others, how you would like them to treat you. Would you want your landlord deciding when your allowed/not allowed to express your beliefs & opinions?

It's not directly a threat to you or your property, I'd pass on this one.  

As long as flags are flown within the guidelines of protocol, I doubt there is anything you can legally do.   

In our leases, we do not allow flags, or sheets, to be used in-lieu of curtains in windows, but if a tenant wishes to hoist colours at sunrise and lower them at sunset, it is within their right.   In keeping with protocol, if the tenant wishes to leave the flag flying at night, it needs to be properly illuminated; if the flag is tattered or frayed, it must be replaced - otherwise we reserve the right to take it down {technically, they could be fined, but I've never heard of it actually happening.  Most shopping centres and hotels do not fly flags in keeping with protocol}.

I recall a case from a few years ago about a HOA prohibiting someone from flying a US flag on their property. As you might expect it got a lot of attention at the time. You might want to see how that resolved.

I suspect that your only option is to ban all flags or all flags except the US flag. Banning a specific flag sounds like grounds for an ACLU lawsuit. Replace "Confederate flag" with "Gay Pride flag" and think through how your policy would be received.

Gross that you even have to think about doing this. I'd worry about renting to the type of people that would want to fly the confederate flag. Would they harass and intimidate the neighbors if some black or Jewish people lived there? A very low percent would actually shoot up a church tho. You probably can't do anything about it but maybe some well placed questions about current events just in chatting while showing the property could reveal some of their world views. And while looking at their car to see how messy they are (standard stuff) you could look for bumper stickers that you agree or disagree with.

I have never had a renter that flew any flag.  Most quality renters worry about going to work and paying rent.

If the time comes, you can ignore it, or ask them to remove it.

Be up front in asking about it during your pre-screening and screening process. If they give you any indication of Confedrate/racist sympathies then pass on them. No rule against discriminating against bigots!

Originally posted by Account Closed:

If there's one very important life lesson I've learned in the past year, it's "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." 

I understand the amendment, and I also understand that it's a common scapegoat for the stupid actions of numerous individuals. I want to know how to mitigate it and improve the communities that I invest in.

I agree , because you can doesnt mean you should .  BUT  .........

When push comes to shove , telling someone they cant  , gives them more reason to do so .

I wouldnt do anything , leave it alone until a problem arises , if a problem even does arise .  Then see where things go . 

I didnt see anyone around here driving around with the Confederate in the back of their truck UNTIL  a few people found it objectionable .  Now I see 4 or 5 a day . 

In about 4 weeks, the media will be focusing on some other world problem, and the confederate flag issue will die down.  With this lack of momentum, individuals won't be as animated to display their heritable connection to the deep south. I doubt this will be a long term problem, therefore I'd look past such a nuance and happily collect the passive income.  

I recommend this:  Put it in the Lease

"The simplest way to avoid complication is to add specific language to rental agreements stipulating public sign display restrictions. Landlords are granted the right to prohibit the public display on or from their property of opinions with which they disagree, whether the property is rented or not. Property owners, according to protections in the First Amendment, cannot be compelled to publicly utter any language that they do not want to utter." (End, Source:  MassLandlord.net)

I would include flags, banners - and that the exterior of the property including windows and doors facing outward shall remain unencumbered of any personal items/expression.

The First Amendment is not a valid argument - and ensuring that each tenant has the legal right to the "peaceful use of their property" is a landlord obligation. Get it in the lease and set the standard for your properties.

Thanks for posting...this is such an emotionally charged issue and one we should all consider and address.