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Old 09-01-2008, 03:51 PM
 
Location: la hacienda
2,241 posts, read 6,561,192 times
Reputation: 1085

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You might want to check and see if there's a city ordinance. Some cities have ordinances in place that say no signs 30, 60 or 90 days before an election. Perhaps there's an ordinance that says there's a limit to the amount of signs.

Have the neighbors complained to the owner of the house? Do they have a political disagreement as to the name that is on the signs?
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:10 PM
 
4,175 posts, read 4,090,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spree View Post
Have the neighbors complained to the owner of the house? Do they have a political disagreement as to the name that is on the signs?
It is the neighbors who are complaining to the landlord- he has had 3 calls. It is a sign for Democrats but one of the complaining neighbors is himself a Democrat. He would like the sign there - just not a bunch of them. I know the landlord is himself tilted left, so this is not a party-related issue.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:39 AM
 
300 posts, read 816,348 times
Reputation: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by galore View Post
There's a lot of speech that isn't allowed for display on your property.

For starters, try something really obscene.
Obscenity isn't protected speech... anywhere; not just your front lawn.

Assuming that the signs are not obscene by community standards (which they probably are if they're saying you should vote for THAT guy ) I'd say: let the neighbors be the ones to complain, not the landlord.

If there's a law against it, the neighbors can be the bad guys to enforce it that the renter will inevitably hate for all eternity rather than the landlord.

The key difference here is that the renter can't tear up the neighbor's house nearly as easily as they can the landlord's house. If the guy doesn't have self-restraint to realize that 10 signs about anything in his front yard is probably in the realm of "diminishing returns" he might not have enough self-restraint to keep from pouring portland cement mix down the bathtub drain before moving out.

If the landlord manages to get the signs taken down, and the renter tears the place up, I doubt the neighbor's gratitude will extend far enough to cover the cost of repairs.

Tell the landlord to answer all calls with the following: "I've already contacted my attorney about the matter and he's advised me that there's nothing I can do about the signs at this time."

That way the tennant gets to vent, the landlord doesn't have to worry about their house getting torn up in retribution, and the neighbors feel heard and don't think the landlord doesn't care about them.

Next tennant, put a clause in the contract. While you're at putting clauses in rental agreements, have them put in another clause that the landlord will change the A/C filter monthly for the tennant. Gives you a ready-made reason to enter the home once a month and check on the condition of the property as you're changing the filter (i.e. don't go snooping, but whatever is in plain sight is fair game).
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:18 AM
 
4,175 posts, read 4,090,180 times
Reputation: 1183
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsidian97 View Post
Obscenity isn't protected speech... anywhere; not just your front lawn.

Assuming that the signs are not obscene by community standards (which they probably are if they're saying you should vote for THAT guy ) I'd say: let the neighbors be the ones to complain, not the landlord.

If there's a law against it, the neighbors can be the bad guys to enforce it that the renter will inevitably hate for all eternity rather than the landlord.

The key difference here is that the renter can't tear up the neighbor's house nearly as easily as they can the landlord's house. If the guy doesn't have self-restraint to realize that 10 signs about anything in his front yard is probably in the realm of "diminishing returns" he might not have enough self-restraint to keep from pouring portland cement mix down the bathtub drain before moving out.

If the landlord manages to get the signs taken down, and the renter tears the place up, I doubt the neighbor's gratitude will extend far enough to cover the cost of repairs.

Tell the landlord to answer all calls with the following: "I've already contacted my attorney about the matter and he's advised me that there's nothing I can do about the signs at this time."

That way the tennant gets to vent, the landlord doesn't have to worry about their house getting torn up in retribution, and the neighbors feel heard and don't think the landlord doesn't care about them.

Next tennant, put a clause in the contract. While you're at putting clauses in rental agreements, have them put in another clause that the landlord will change the A/C filter monthly for the tennant. Gives you a ready-made reason to enter the home once a month and check on the condition of the property as you're changing the filter (i.e. don't go snooping, but whatever is in plain sight is fair game).
Good, practical points.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:27 AM
 
14,648 posts, read 27,923,841 times
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That is a good idea about changing the A/C filter but does an owner give up the right to enter his/her property when he leases it out...
I thought he/she had "reasonable" access meaning with notification and during normal times like 9-9 or something similar...
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:08 AM
 
300 posts, read 816,348 times
Reputation: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
That is a good idea about changing the A/C filter but does an owner give up the right to enter his/her property when he leases it out...
I thought he/she had "reasonable" access meaning with notification and during normal times like 9-9 or something similar...
Yes, you can't just show up whenever you like, out of the blue, once you've rented the place out. It's someone else's home even though you own the property.

You always have to respect the privacy of your tennants and must give them reasonable notice for a "business purpose" before you enter or you can be sued. You can enter after a notice of termination has been given to show prospective renters the unit as well, but you should always try to give reasonable notice.

Maintaining the property is considered a business purpose, and changing the AC filter regularly is commonly held to be reasonable maintenance for an AC unit. Plus, most people hate changing the filters so prospective tennants probably won't care that the filter is getting changed or even notice it in their contract. You'll just need to give them reasonable notice before entering (i.e. call the day before and leave a message, etc).

If they're doing serious damage to the unit, they're going to be hard pressed to cover it up that quickly. Again, you don't get to poke around through their things (that's not a business purpose and WILL get you sued), but as you're walking through the unit to change the filter you don't have to avert your eyes (and nobody said you had to leave the way you came in either).

Be polite, be professional, and do the tennant a service (i.e. maintain the AC unit) and you'll probably be ok.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:43 PM
 
16,005 posts, read 26,121,774 times
Reputation: 5950
I don't think there is any notification law in Texas about inspecting the property. However, I wouldn't do it unless I thought something was very wrong.

How about the Landlord putting a political sign in 'the tenant's yard'? After all, it is the property of the Landlord.
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:03 PM
 
430 posts, read 893,050 times
Reputation: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
Free speech has limits and a contract can limit someone's free speech --that is why an HOA's covenants might hold sway...
No.

The contract has to specfically state the specific information that is confidential. Like "John Doe slept with my daughter and got her pregnant." or "I was given a million dollars to not say anything about Fred Flintstone, good or bad."
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:20 PM
 
2,886 posts, read 4,555,192 times
Reputation: 4906
Per the OP's request the thread has been moved from the Dallas forum to the Texas forum to get a broader perspective from the membership in this matter. Thanks
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,761 posts, read 18,178,658 times
Reputation: 3613
The government cannot infringe on your right to free speech, but individuals may accept limits on their free speech from other sources - for example, a company can prevent you from shouting out its trade secrets or project data. I suspect that a landlord could limit the ability of a tenent to put up signs, but it would have to be in the contract, maybe, or in a general clause of some sort about 'appearance' of the property being maintained.

Edit:
A quick search turned up this:http://aprendizdetodo.com/causes/?item=20070313
Apparently, political signs are banned in the Mueller development in Austin by HOA rule. No idea if it is legal.

And this (from here http://www.thedurhamnews.com/around_town/story/131988.html): (broken link)
Quote:
The First Amendment prohibits governments from restricting free speech -- which includes the posting of political signs -- but a homeowners' association is not a government agency, said Charles A. Szypszak, an authority on real-estate law at the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The second, if you read the article, would seem to support that you can put the prohibition in a contract. Until renewal, though, I am guessing that you are out of luck.
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