Landlord Tells Apartment Tenant She Can't Display Flag

A Nebraska landlord told a tenant the American flag she’s hanging outside her window has to come down, but she’s not budging.

KETV of Omaha reports the woman, whose husband is in the Navy, is keeping the flag up until the Red coats come to tear it down. But she doesn’t seem to have any legal ground to stand on because she signed an agreement that said she wouldn’t hang posters, pictures or flags in the windows.

Do you think the woman should get an exception for what appears to be an innocuous display of patriotism?

Apartment Complex Says No To Show Of Patriotism [KETV Omaha]

Comments

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  1. SomeoneGNU says:

    Exception? No. Not because I don’t believe in our country but because of one fact – one exception opens the doors to many exceptions. If her landlord allows this, what happens when a person of Greek descent wants to hang their flag? Or an Arab? Or a picture of a casket of a solider?

    The intent of the display carries no baring in this.

    • SomeoneGNU says:

      bearing, not baring.

    • Hoss says:

      Windows filled with Walmart holiday decorations are enough to make the building look trashy

    • Tim says:

      Arabia is not a nation, so it doesn’t have a flag.

      And that’s just about as likely as Congress proposing in each session a law to forbid destruction of every flag.

      • DanRydell says:

        He didn’t say Arabia is a country that has a flag. He asked “what if an Arab wants to hang their flag?” (paraphrased). Arabs come from countries that have flags.

        • hymie! says:

          Technically, he asked “What happens when a person of Greek descent wants to hang an Arab?”

          • Flabbergasterisk says:

            Well it’s not a flag or a poster, so that’d be fine.

            • CookiePuss says:

              What if the Greek hangs the Arab with a US flag from a Canadian maple tree in the name of some autoerotic asphyxiation fun? Whoa man. Heavy.

              Just take the flag down and put a flag bumper sticker on your car. Or paint your entire car to look like a giant American flag. Or get an American flag tattoo on your forehead. Or petition the Snuggie company to make a US Flag Snuggie you can wear everywhere you go.

              The patriotic dream doesn’t have to die on your front lawn. FREEEEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOM! hehe

              • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

                hrm, you know, the tenant agreement doesn’t say she can’t paint the windows, just that she can’t hang one. she could paint a flag on the window

        • SomeoneGNU says:

          This is correct with my intent.

          And, while it would be simple for them to make a rule, “American flags” only they might get blow back for insensitive to other cultures. Who knows – if they had an american only flag ruling maybe we’d be hearing about a person of another nationality complaining that they were being discriminated against.

      • Sian says:
      • The Marionette says:

        They were using arab as an example, I’m almost sure you could’ve figured that one out……..

      • craptastico says:

        actually there are arab flags. there are arabic countries, including Saudi Arabia, and also a flag of the Arab League

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Flags

    • DanRydell says:

      It would be very easy for the landlord to allow the display of the American flag but no others – simply amend the rules to allow the display of the American flag. The landlord could do that if he wanted to.

      • frank64 says:

        But he doesn’t and doesn’t have to.

        • DanRydell says:

          Of course he doesn’t have to. I neither said nor implied that he had to or that he should or that I want him to do that. I said he COULD. Why did I say that? Look at the comment I’m responding to. The guy who is saying that if the landlord allows one kind of flag he has to allow anything else. That’s simply not true.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        That would be *patently* illegal, as it would violate Fair Housing. You can’t write a housing contract with restrictions obviously intended to discriminate against anyone based on race, sex, creed, or national origin.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Well, if they are in NJ, they can display the American flag, but not the flag of another nation, and an HOA or the like can NOT restrict it:

      NJSA 45:22A-48.1. Homeowners’ association prohibited from limiting, prohibiting display of U.S. flag, yellow ribbons, signs in support of troops…

      • dragonvpm says:

        Does that actually apply to a tenant/landlord situation? Doing some digging it looked like this law was intended to cover property OWNERS, not necessarily tenants. In particular the law requires that “the property rights of others are not impaired” in the course of displaying the flags/yellow ribbons. Wouldn’t the landlords property rights factor into this situation?

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          While not implicity covered by the law, I bet a good lawyer could whip up a legal argument that would convince a judge that a simple flag being displayed by a tenant falls within the spirit of the statute.

          • Gandalf the Grey says:

            I would have to disagree with that if I were the Judge. Actually, I would feel the opposite would be the case.

            The state law specifically deals with an organization who is not the owner trying to infringe on the rights of a property owner. In this case, the tenant wants to infringe on the rights of the property owner by not honoring the rental agreement.

            The spirit of the law is that the property owner’s rights shall not be infringed when it comes to displays of the flag.

            • mythago says:

              Except that the tenant also has certain rights to the property, via contract with the owner (the landlord).

              • Gandalf the Grey says:

                Yes, but that contract specifically does not give the tenant the right to display a flag.

                • FacebookAppMaker says:

                  The internet: Where EVERYONE can be a lawyer

                • mythago says:

                  You should probably understand contract law in general and landlord-tenant law in the state in question specifically before you start arguing about what a judge in this case should do.

                  • Gandalf the Grey says:

                    Yes, the laws in every state are different, and yes, IANAL, but given the argument presented by GetEm$teveDave, that is how I would decide.

                    I like debate based on reason, I admit when I make mistakes (see above about ‘president’ vs ‘precedent’), and I try my hardest to not make things personal or get involved in flame wars.

                • c!tizen says:

                  What if the tenant reclassified the flag as a window treatment, a.k.a. a curtain? Certainly there are no clauses in the lease that prohibit a curtain, and any good attorney would spin this as his case instead of trying to play the patriot card. Or, hell… the lady can order a set of blinds with the American Flag on them. There is nothing in the lease saying she can’t hang her own blinds, in fact the lease specifically states that blinds are allowed in the window and makes no mention of the type of blinds.

                  • Gandalf the Grey says:

                    “Certainly there are no clauses in the lease that prohibit a curtain”

                    In my current lease agreement, there is a clause that states that all window coverings must have a plain white or cream backing that faces the outside of the building. My girlfriend has worked in the leasing industry for years, and according to her, this is very common. Every apartment rental company she has worked for in the past 5 years has included clauses very similar. Home rentals seem to be much less restrictive.

                  • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

                    That wouldn’t work with any of the leases I’ve ever signed. They all specifically say that any window treatments must be white facing the outside. Blinds, curtians, doesn’t matter.. if it faces the outside it has to be white. I get around this by leaving their blinds on (white blinds) and putting my own curtians on top of them for the color to be on the inside.

                    Kinda like that old Ford quote, “I don’t care what color you paint the cars as long as when they come out at the end of the line, they are black.” or something like that.

                  • ClaudeKabobbing says:

                    Same in my apartment. Only thing allowed to show in the windows are the blinds. If you hang curtains. The blinds must be lowered. This has nothing to do with showing patriotism, She new when she signed the lease what she could and could not do.

          • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

            And a lawyer a tenth as good would point out the following:

            The law is explicitly written to target homeowners’ associations and homeowners. There is no usable analogy between HOAs and landlords, and homeowners and tenants. (The landlords are the “home”owners, after all.) So, no, there is no spirit of the law argument that could be used to take rights away from the owner of a rental unit.

            Besides that, depending on the strength of the precedent, the judge would be opening up the possibility of using ALL laws that govern property rights for tenant rights, and vice-versa, to be decided on a case-by-case basis. The ensuing trainwreck would take an entire rewrite of both areas of law to undo. Have fun with that.

          • mindaika says:

            The fact that she signed a CONTRACT agreeing not to hang flags in the window is the only law in question. This is not a case of the landlord trying to stop her from hanging up a flag because they don’t want flags in the window, it is a case of a woman breaching a valid contract.

          • Gulliver says:

            I could make the argument it does not matter since New Jersey law does not apply in Nebraska. End of discussion

      • Gandalf the Grey says:

        This is not a HOA, since an HOA does not own the land they are trying to manage, that would not be a valid president in this case.

        This is a case where the owner of the land is forbidding the display of a banner or flag within their property.

      • guspaz says:

        By the letter of that law, I can put up a Canadian flag with “Support our troops” written on the bottom. After all, it’s a sign supporting the troops.

    • backbroken says:

      I realize we have lost tons of freedom in the past 10 years, but are we so afraid of Arabs now that we have to restrict the display of the American flag in fear that an Arab will display, I dunno, an Arab-ish (?) flag?

      • SomeoneGNU says:

        What does A have to do with B? The rule is no posters, pictures or flags in windows. What does that have to do with fear of arabs?

      • jesirose says:

        No, the problem is that if we allow only American flags, then people will cry that they can’t display THEIR flag, and the mainstream media will accuse the landlord of being a racist until he lets anyone put up any flag.

        • backbroken says:

          I think she should have to take her flag down because she signed a contract that says she can’t display it.

          I don’t think she should have to take it down because some chain of events might unfold that would lead to some sort of race-based hullaballoo.

          • SomeoneGNU says:

            Quoting you:
            “I realize we have lost tons of freedom in the past 10 years, but are we so afraid of Arabs now that we have to restrict the display of the American flag in fear that an Arab will display, I dunno, an Arab-ish (?) flag?”

            I brought them up as an example of “what-if”, not we shouldn’t do it because of terra-rism.

            • backbroken says:

              You made the slippery slope argument…that if we let someone display an American flag then someone would want to display something more objectionable….like an Arab flag or anti-war picture.

              My reply was simply trying to point out that it was kind of a silly argument to make for the landlord, especially when you have the obvious argument of a signed contract. The reason to not allow her to display the American flag is because she signed a contract preventing her from doing it…not because we want to keep Arabs from displaying their flag of choice.

              • RvLeshrac says:

                The argument was “If the landlord allows this flag under these circumstances, the landlord will no longer have any legal footing to disallow other flags under different circumstances.” It doesn’t matter who wants to put a flag up, what flag they want to put up, or what reasons they have for putting it up. The lease agreement said no flags.

        • guroth says:

          If everyone in my apartment complex put up a flag representing their country of heritage then my apartment complex would look like a UN summit.

        • Difdi says:

          Simple solution to that. You can display the flag of the country and state you reside in…if you want to display a Saudi Arabian flag, you should display it in the window of your home in Saudi Arabia.

      • common_sense84 says:

        Except this has nothing to do with it. The measure is most likely designed to prevent advertising or displays that look like shit. Since a landlord is always advertising the place. That is really the only incentive they have to keep the place looking nice.

        Sure the flag is fine, but it would be a head ache to try to decide what is and is not appropriate. It is better to just ban all crap rather than waste time deciding what is good and what is bad.

      • colorisnteverything says:

        My question is what the hell is an arab flag?

  2. Chebwa says:

    She signed an agreement saying she wouldn’t, and now she is breaking her contract. I don’t see how there is any argument or debate whatsoever in this case…

    • cardigan says:

      Exactly! Why is this even an issue?

    • macoan says:

      Exactly – I started reading the title & article thinking how bad of a landlord could this be… Oh, there is a contract signed by the Tenant….

      Well now it is how bad of a tenant this is to not be able to follow the contract they signed. This is yet another article written to make the landlord look bad when they have done nothing wrong.

      Landlord just needs to let the tenant know to remove it or leave for breach of contract.

  3. Hoss says:

    Cancel her rental agreement. Landlords need rights too.

    • grucifer says:

      True. I mean, if it’s in the lease agreement clearly this tenant knew about the rule and is blatantly disregarding it and therefore breaking her end of the lease.

      See you tenant!

      • Pax says:

        I’ve dealt with some scummy landlords in the past – one, at least, who I’d call an outright slum lord.

        But this? I have to agree. It’s a reasonable clause of her lease, to which she agreed before moving in. She can obey, or be evicted due to breachof contract. Her choice.

        Either way, there won’t be a flag hanging in or from that window.

    • Hoss says:

      Thanks all. I’m from the quiet military generation (WWII father and uncles)

    • dg says:

      The flag itself being displayed doesn’t matter, the fact is this fool said she wouldn’t display a flag, and is now doing so – in violation of her rental agreement.

      If I were her landlord, I’d say “Listen, I’m as patriotic as the next guy – but you can’t display flags in the window. It has to come down now. Thanks.”

      If she didn’t take it down, then I’d give her a 10-day notice to quit, evict her, and sue her ass for loss of rent and whatever other costs I had before re-renting the apartment.

      It’s in the lease for a reason. If she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to sign it. Obey it 100%, or get out.

  4. tedyc03 says:

    The issue here is that the display is of an American flag. If we were talking about a Green Day poster, this story probably wouldn’t have appeared here. Or in the KETV news lineup.

    The issue in this case should be less about the flag and more about the fact that she signed a promise that was content-neutral and applies to everyone in the complex.

    Just because an American flag is at issue doesn’t mean this should rise to the level of “news.”

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      I’m not so sure… because it was an American Flag, it becomes protected free speech, and political free speech is the most heavily protected by the supreme court.

      Does she have a leg to stand on? I’m not sure, but I’m sure there are plenty of lawyers who would take her up on it.

      • minjche says:

        Sigh. Another misuse of “Free speech”.

        Read the actual amendment. Seriously, please go read it. It says that Congress can’t make a law that abridges free speech. CONGRESS.

        You’d be amazed how much you can learn when you figure something out for yourself.

        • tedyc03 says:

          Understanding the First Amendment is impossible without also reading the 14th Amendment, which extends the rights and restrictions to the state level, too. But I digress.

          This isn’t a free speech issue. It’s private property. She’s entitled to possession insofar as she abides by the covenants contained within her lease. The issue of the American flag only inflames the situation, which is unfortunate.

          • minjche says:

            Ah yes, a good point.

            I could be wrong but I believe the reference you’re making to the 14th amendment is to this:

            “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States …”

      • zegota says:

        Even if this was a first amendment issue, which it’s not, a Radiohead poster is protected speech just as much as the American Flag is.

        • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

          Political free speech is more heavily protected than other forms, is my point.

          • Costner says:

            Constituional arguments such as “free speech” do not apply to private property. So no, she does not have a valid argument since the property is owned by the landlord, and he or she can pretty much restrict anything they wish to provided it does not violate any federal, state, or local laws.

            Frankly this woman doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, but of course there will be countless lawyers contacting her to work on the case pro-bono so they can milk it for some free publicity.

      • Shadowfax says:

        Bull. The flag is not necessary to be protected free speech. The Green Day poster is protected free speech too. And the government is not telling her to remove the flag, and therefore the concept of “protected free speech” does not apply. Private entities can set any rules they want regarding what you can and can’t stick on their property. She signed the agreement. She had a choice. If you want to display your flag, don’t move into a building where you can’t put crap in the windows.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          While I agree this is not a 1st Amendment isue, the landlord still does not have carte blanche in terms of what rules they can implement. There is a line they cannot cross because it would infringe on their rights. This just happens not to be one.

          I’d would argue there’s merit here, except that years of case law regarding HOAs and other such entities/covenents have pretty much sealed the debate on this particular issue. The law is very much against her on this one.

      • Pax says:

        Free speech is only the right to not have the GOVERNMENT tell you you cannot say somehting, or display a message.

        There is no law preventing private persons from restricting what can or cannot be said, displayed, or otherwise communicated within or from their private property.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      There is no law that says you have the right to fly the flag anywhere/anytime because it is protected under the free speech clause of the first amendment. There are, however, many regulations about properly flying the flag, especially concerning flying the flag 24 hours a day and in inclement weather. I never fly the flag, well, because I never do, but I’m aware of the regulations and it pisses me off when someone disrespects the flag. I’ll bet her flag is not weatherproof and has no lights on it at night. Those are both requirements under the law for hanging a flag. Otherwise, it is to be ceremoniously raised and lowered each day.

      I know this argument will come down to her contract. No court will take the landlords right to stipulate what can be done on their property, but the public pressure on the landlord in this case will probably cause the landlord to change his policy. It’s predictable that the public, in its ignorance, will not accept that the law is the law for a very good reason, and start picketing and saying nasty things to the landlord.

      • jesirose says:

        Why would a flag hung indoors need to be weatherproof?

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          It wouldn’t. Is that really the only thing you took away from my posting?

          Her display of the flag is a fail. While it is displayed with the stars in the right place (for a change), it looks like she’s using it as a curtain. While I see no regulations about displaying flags in residential windows, it doesn’t exactly look respectful.

          • jesirose says:

            No, it was the only part of your comment that I was replying to however. I don’t have any opinion on the rest of your comment. I only have an opinion on the part which reads “[…] it pisses me off when someone disrespects the flag. I’ll bet her flag is not weatherproof and has no lights on it at night. Those are both requirements under the law for hanging a flag. “

            So, I commented in regards to that one part. Chillax.

          • Snowblind says:

            More importantly, using the American Flag as a curtain would be an inappropriate and disrespectful use of the Flag.

            It seems clear the law for displaying the flag is incomplete if it does not include renters. Therefore, change the law, don’t break the agreement.

            If the law is changed, then she can fly the flag. You cannot assign away certain rights granted to you in a contract, and that law protects American Flag flying as a free speech issue.

            • Gulliver says:

              Who told you , you could not sign away rights in a contract? In fact, that is what you do in a contract. There is no right to do whatever you want on somebody else’s property. As for the flag, if I want to pee on it, burn it, use it to wipe my ass, there is NO law in existence that can stop me. It is true freedom of speech. Any law that says otherwise is in direct violation of Texas v Johnson.

            • minjche says:

              You most certainly can sign away rights with a contract.

              Research bail bond contracts. You sign away several amendments (including “search and seizure”, a bail bond enforcer can legally break into your house and detain you).

              HowStuffWorks.com has a pretty good article and podcast on the subject.

      • mikeyo says:

        yes, there is such a law saying you have a right to fly a certain flag. Its the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005″. Look it up

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          No. You look it up, and actually read it this time.

          • RevancheRM says:

            Aaaaah….the vaunted “rubber-glue” retort. Touche!

            • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

              Exactly. Wear a rubber and you won’t get stuck with stupid kids who don’t know how to read.

          • Pax says:

            Sure, I looked it up.

            It doesn’t apply to renters, at all.

            It applies to property OWNERS, and expressly forbids HOAs, Co-op Associations, or Condominium Associations (etc) from forbidding their own members from displying the flag on their own property.

            The intent of the law is, “If the property is residential, and if you own

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          RTF Act yourself. I got my information from The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions. As many commenters have posted, that Act protects the property OWNERS. It says nothing about a renters rights to fly the flag.

          http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf

          The relevant information you’re referencing is in the last paragraph.

  5. George4478 says:

    Another person who signs an agreement not to do something and then does it anyway.

    Another landlord who will buckle under press/public scrutiny.

    Is there any doubt about how this will end and every argument/post/discussion between now and then?

    • peebozi says:

      Are you suggesting that there is only one paragraph to their agreement or do you have the original agreement they each signed in your possession?

      I can’t imagine that the only paragraph in their rental agreement deals with what can be installed on the inside of the window.

      Maybe there would be another paragraph in their rental agreement that spells out further rights that each can examine.

      • George4478 says:

        I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. The number of paragraphs in the agreement doesn’t really have any relevance to the content of the agreement, does it?

        From the article: “The manager of The Landings apartment complex said the reason Simonson-Rubenstein received those notices is simple. She said every tenant at the apartment complex signed an agreement saying they won’t hang anything in the windows except for the blinds — no posters, no pictures, no flags.”

        Does it really matter if this is spelled out in one paragraph or two or four? The tenant is not disputing she agreed to this; she is disputing that it applies to the American flag.

  6. mikec041 says:

    IF in fact she signed a lease/contract that says NO FLAGS etc. she signed her rights away to do so. END OF STORY.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Except if she lived in NJ:

      NJSA 45:22A-48.1. Homeowners’ association prohibited from limiting, prohibiting display of U.S. flag, yellow ribbons, signs in support of troops.

      We didn’t forget what it cost to protect the freedom that flag represents!

      • phrekyos says:

        It’s an apartment complex, not a homeowner’s association. She doesn’t own anything.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Any good lawyer could cite the similar circumstances between the situation and the existing law and get a judge to agree. The law is an amazing thing. It not only lectures, it listens. It doesn’t just stand still, it can move and change.

          • phrekyos says:

            Any good lawyer would point out that she doesn’t OWN the damn apartment, and never will. There’s no connection between a homeowner’s association and an apartment lease.

            • Pax says:

              This. Exactly and precisely 150% this.

              Display of the United States Flag is only a protected right for the owner of a residential property.

              Everyone else? Not guaranteed. If you want the right to do so, negotiate for it in your lease or comparable agreement.

      • PunditGuy says:
      • Shadowman615 says:
        • remf3 says:

          “States that a condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.”

          Near the end of this phrase from the site you referred to. See the word “ownership?” She rents, she does not own. The owner doesn’t want stuff hanging from the window.

          • MurderGirl says:

            Read it yourself. ” a right to exclusive possession or use” could easily be construed to include renters. But that’s in New Jersey, not Nebraska, where the story took place.

    • lawgirl502 says:

      this person has a Constitutional right to bear the flag-this is not contract law, but Constitutional law. Where the H is the pathetic ACLU when they are actually needed

      • Chaosium says:

        “this person has a Constitutional right to bear the flag-this is not contract law, but Constitutional law. Where the H is the pathetic ACLU when they are actually needed”

        With Constitutional matters, it’s not Constitutional just because you say it is. You really have no understanding of the law.

        The ACLU stands by people of any faith when actual 1st amendment rights are being stripped away.

  7. jedsa says:

    There should absolutely not be an exception made for this. The lease says “except for the blinds — no posters, no pictures, no flags.” So yes, no legal grounds to stand on. Moreover, allowing one exception puts the landlord in the position of potentially having to pick and choose exceptions in the future. Should a state flag be allowed? Would you allow the state flag if it’s the relatives of a fallen state trooper? How about a Brazil flag? Could you fly a Brazil flag just during the World Cup? I’m Israeli-can I fly the Israeli flag? But she gets to fly the US flag! Etc., etc., etc.

    The apartment complex chose to make things simple for themselves and clear for all, giving warning and notice to its tenants with a simple statement in the lease. If you don’t like the terms of the lease, go elsewhere.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Then the state law needs to be changed. Progressive states have already passed laws which says an HOA can not limit you from displaying an US flag, yellow ribbon, or other signs supporting troops, unless they are a safety risk.

    • ninram says:

      She should make custom blinds with the US Flag printed on it.

      • mbz32190 says:

        If she had vertical blinds, this would be easy to do…just print out a large flag, cut out strips to size, and tape to the side of the blind facing out. (Would probably work with horizontal blinds too, but would be more difficult)

    • fantomesq says:

      So you could get blinds that when closed display an American flag?

      • common_sense84 says:

        Probably. This was not the intent, but if the blind don’t say solid colored, it would be a loophole.

        But your next lease will definitely say solid colored blinds on it.

        • DrLumen says:

          Usually the lease says that any window coverings must be white. No other reason other than curb appeal. Everyone having different colored curtains, blinds, poster, foil, flags, et al. does tend to make the place look junky.

          If she has it outside and mounted then that is not allowed as she doesn’t pay rent on the outside of the apartment.

          Personally, I would still put a flag up in a window on holidays but would only leave it up for a few days. I never got any complaints from mgmt. It may already be too late for her though as she done ticked ‘em off.

  8. zigziggityzoo says:

    No. Contract law is clear.

  9. jmurf says:

    I think this one goes to the tenant, as long as she has “exlusive possession to use” for where she’s displaying the flag.
    See the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005:
    http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/hr42.htm

    • UberGeek says:

      I do like this as it would render such sections of the contract unenforceable, but I fail to understand which part of the law would apply to an apartment complex. It appears to be only about the various forms of HOAs.

    • thanq says:

      Very good link, but have you read it? It says the opposite what you suggest.

      “Nothing in this Act shall be considered to permit any display or use that is inconsistent with (…) any reasonable restriction (…) necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium association (…)”

    • Chaosium says:

      “as long as she has “exlusive possession to use” for where she’s displaying the flag.”

      But she doesn’t.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Oh blessed irony. She demands that this shows her patriotism, yet she’s encroaching on the apartment complex’s rights to impose reasonable restrictions. She’s slaunting her own rights was infringing on someone else’s rights.

    So yeah, she’s definitely a true American.

    • asamtoy says:

      Hahahaha

      I was debating putting my own reaction to this story up, but this pretty much encapsulates it.

    • peebozi says:

      She using peaceful protest and puyblic shaming to humiliate the LL…you don’t stand for the individual’s right to exercise her 1st amendment by bringing attention to this story??!?!?!?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        She can try to bring attention to it, but it’s a non-story, perpetuated by the media’s ratings-whore philosophy. “OMG THE OUTRAGE!!” is the only thing they want to happen.

        As I said elsewhere, case law is against her, and she should abide by the contract she signed.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        The First Amendment is not in play here. At all. The landlord is not a government entity abridging her right to speech.

  11. EmanNeercs says:

    This shouldn’t even be a discussion… She signed an agreement stating that she could live there under certain terms and she is negating those terms by doing this. Kick her out if she refuses to oblige.

  12. Mr.DuckSauce says:

    She should have read the fine print, people are just signing things away.

  13. asten77 says:

    KMTV is a TV station, not an apartment complex :)

  14. Mom says:

    Where I live, there was a similar court case a few years back, and American flags, like satellite dishes, were exempted from the rules. It sounds like she’s not in whatever jurisdiction was covered by that decision, though.

    • somnambulist80 says:

      iirc, Satellite dishes, antennas and the like are covered by an FCC regulation which trumps contract law. As long as the device can be installed without damaging the building (e.g., setting the antenna base in a bucket of concrete), the landlord cannot prohibit its use.

      • aloria says:

        Satellite also has to be installed in an area the tenant normally has access to, like a common area. If the only place you can put the dish to get signal is the roof, and access to the roof is restricted, the landlord is under no obligation to give you access so you can put a dish there.

  15. Hoss says:

    She’s from a military family and the flag is up backwards?

    • ARP says:

      No, I think it’s up correctly. When you put a flag in a window, the canton/union should be in your right hand (on the left when looking at it from outside).

      BOT- quintessential American, all about freedom, liberty, etc. until it inconveniences them or they feel that someone is getting more than they are, then there should be a law.

      • fatediesel says:

        Correct. It does look kind of weird that way and you would think it should be reversed but it is displayed properly.

      • krozfan says:

        Correct, the stars are always in the upper left. It’s just that most people don’t know that and you usually see it hung wrong.

    • UberGeek says:

      United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 §7i — When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

  16. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Who gives a shit? You have a husband in the Navy: Guess what? Putting a flag up? Not high on the list of patriotic things being done in the household.

    Actually, to be clear: Putting a flag up- unless atop a hill at Iwo Jima, not particularly patriotic in general. It does absolutely no good to the country you’re living in. The founding fathers seemed to have this strange and outlandish notion that patriotism was expressed in civil service and aid to the community at large.

    Of course, expecting that from your average modern pseudo/anarcho/Amero-capitalist American who bought into the narrative hook, line, and sinker that being American is to generally not give a shit about other people… that’s a tall order.

    • tbax929 says:

      I love this comment and completely agree.

      I had a friend whose hubby was in the Air Force. She consistently refers to this period of time as “when we were in the military”. As a vet, it drives me crazy. Honey, you weren’t in shit. Your husband was. Get over yourself.

      • Hoot says:

        I love the above comment too.

        I just had to say, though, that I’ve stayed on a military base with my fiance’s family (his father is in the coast guard). It struck me like summer camp for adults. The whole family would probably refer to themselves as being “in the military” because they’re part of a “cult” that doesn’t have to go more than a half mile to shop for anything, go the movies, see a doctor, etc.etc. Everything is arranged for them at their doorstop.

      • TheFingerOfGod says:

        this reminds me of when men say “were pregnant”. I have the same objection!

    • Chaosium says:

      “Who gives a shit? You have a husband in the Navy: Guess what? Putting a flag up? Not high on the list of patriotic things being done in the household.”

      Fairweather friends of freedom. Rather wave a flag than do something worthy of the country.

  17. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Not if she signed the contract.

  18. Anonymously says:

    Must be some sort of America-hating, terrorist-loving jerk that owns that apartment complex.

  19. skylar.sutton says:

    No exceptions. She signed a contract.

    If she was interested in hanging an American Flag in her window she should have read the contract and negotiated that before signing. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but this sense of entitlement in America has GOT to stop.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Or moved to a state that has some sense and passes laws which state you can’t prohibit the display of an American flag, yellow ribbon, or other troop support symbols, as long as safely/properly displayed.

      • hosehead says:

        While I appreciate your point, GitEm$teveDave, NJ’s law does not bestow upon it the status of “having sense”. NJ is still nonsensical.

        GESD is correct. Illegal conditions in a contract are not enforceable, and if they are material to the contract they will usually render the contract void. Just because it is in writing and you sign it does not mean it “IS”.

        • mindaika says:

          True, for the most part. That said, hanging things in the window is probably not going to be considered material, the contract likely had a severability clause, and even in the event that the flag-hanging business was considered unseverable and the contract was declared invalid, that means the landlord can evict the tennant (more or less) immediately.

  20. IamSpartacussss says:

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  21. Liam Kinkaid says:

    She said every tenant at the apartment complex signed an agreement saying they won’t hang anything in the windows except for the blinds — no posters, no pictures, no flags.

    “This is absurd. It’s disgusting and absurd,” Simonson-Rubenstein said.

    I agree. It is disgusting and absurd. You agreed to a certain set of rules when you wanted to live there. The apartment complex is maintaining its side of the agreement, but you don’t think that you should be held to the agreement that you made in good faith with the apartment complex. You are what is disgusting and absurd about this whole situation, lady, not the apartment complex. If you didn’t like the restrictions, you didn’t have to sign the lease.

  22. pot_roast says:

    I’m sure they’ll change their mind. IIRC, last time this happened and made big news, US Flag Code (while not law) > apartment rental agreement.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Actually, I think public outcry will trump rental agreement (even though as a veteran myself, I get tired of people wrapping themselves in the flag).

    • fatediesel says:

      Depending on your interpretation of flag code hanging a flag like that might be against flag code. Flag code states that a flag should never be used as drapery, and a flag over a window is arguably drapery.

  23. tmitch says:

    I happen to believe there absolutely should be an exception for the American Flag.

  24. JakeChance says:

    My god this is going to be awful. No, you have to abide by your rental agreement plain and simple. You can discuss exceptions with your landlord or ask to handle things on a case by case basis but a no is final.

    However, because we live in a country of knee-jerk reactions, people aren’t going to consider this simple responsibility of doing what you agreed to. Here’s whats going to happen: Solely because it’s the American flag and her husband is in the Navy, the landlord is going to have a pool-pah descent upon him. His rights be damned, he’s going to face an inordinate amount of pressure and will be essentially forced to allow this woman to do whatever she wants. Please understand that she has the right to move and live somewhere else, but now she’s going to impose her rights as more important than the person who owns the property. It’s pretty sad.

    • peebozi says:

      Yea, she also has the right to get the news involved and publicly shame the LL for his actions.

      Or do you believe the corporations should hold more right than humans?

      • ryder28910 says:

        Publicly shame the landlord for his actions? You mean enforcing the provisions that the lady explicitly agreed to? Pointless, self-centered things like this are exactly why corporations treat people like crap. This is nothing more than a stupid lady thinking that she’s entitled to the world on a silver platter, and unfairly deserves an exception to something she bound herself to.

  25. Mauvaise says:

    Absolutely not. She signed the lease of her own free will and that included the prohibition against hanging anything in the window except blinds. They wouldn’t give a pass to someone that tried to hang the Jolly Roger in the window, so they shouldn’t give her an exception just because it’s the American Flag and “Oh Noes! If we make her take it down, we’re terrorists who don’t support the troops.”

  26. Jamie All Over says:

    let me clear something up: simply hanging up a flag does NOT make you a patriot.

    • ARP says:

      You’re not from around here are you? Everyone knows, you show your partriotism by driving a big SUV, not helping others, and wearing an XXL Old Navy flag t-shirt.

    • PhiTauBill says:

      … nor does the desire to hang an American flag necessarily make you a redneck idiot…

  27. CalicoGal says:

    This entitled b!tch feels that she is too special to abide by the rules, like everyone else.

    I bet she runs red lights, speeds, has 21 items in the 15-or-less checkout, parks in fire lanes, doesn’t pick up her dog’s poop, and probably sneaks in an extra 1/2 hour at lunch.

    But then she gets caught, and tries to explain why the rules DON’T APPLY TO HER in her “special situation.”
    Holy crap, b!tch!! It’s a FLAG!! You agreed not to hang those when you signed your lease. Take it down. It looks like crap and if you don’t like it, BUY A HOUSE AND MOVE!
    What’s that? Your credit is not good enough to get a mortgage because you don’t follow credit card agreements either and don’t see why you have to pay your bills on time??? BWAAAAHHAHA!!

    Evict her stupid entitled ass.

  28. denros says:

    Great. Next thing you know, they’ll be making me take down my 50 live bald eagles.

  29. StutiCebriones says:

    I wonder which one of them will be Olbermann’s Worst Person in the Woooorrrrrrlllllld.

  30. Emperor Norton I says:

    I wonder if the owner would have the gall to try the same thing with a Gold Star flag?

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      Try what “same thing”? Expect the tenant to abide by the agreement they both signed in good faith?

      • Emperor Norton I says:

        Do you even know what a Gold Star flag represents?
        It means a close family member, a son, daughter, brother, husband or father died in the service of our country.
        No judge would dare uphold such a restriction, even it it were in the lease!
        The various veterans organizations would crucify him or her!

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          Oh, I know what it means. I guarantee you every single person in the world has had at least one ancestor die at one time or another. Many of them probably died in an act of war of some sort. That fact, however, does not give them the right to blatantly disregard a contract entered into by two parties in good faith.

          Contract law is explicit in this regard for a reason. The two parties have responsibilities toward each other. The landlord agreed to supply her with a place to live. She agreed to pay him money and to abide by a set of rules. If she doesn’t want to be a responsible adult and perform her duties, the landlord is free to begin eviction proceedings, which are probably spelled out in the lease contract.

        • Chaosium says:

          “No judge would dare uphold such a restriction, even it it were in the lease!”

          So what? You conservatives sure are all gung-ho on “activist judges”, maybe you should look for impartiality.

  31. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, that’s yet another reason I love living in NJ. We passed a law which states you can display an American flag. According to NJSA Sec. 45:22A-48.1: “a homeowners’ association may not adopt or enforce rules prohibiting the display of the U.S. flag, yellow ribbons, or signs unless the display “threatens public safety, restricts necessary maintenance activities, interferes with the property rights of another, or is conducted in a manner inconsistent with the rules and customs deemed the property manner to display the flag.”

    • Tim says:

      Right, and this is not a homeowners association. An HOA is specifically a group of people who own their homes. That law was likely passed because HOAs in the suburban sprawling little-boxes subdivisions thought that American flags would bring down their property values, so they prohibited them. But we now know that to live in the suburbs is to be a real American, so a lot of states passed laws like that.

      This, my friend, is not an HOA. It’s a rental community.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Yes, but laws like this can apply to other similar situations.

        • Thyme for an edit button says:

          I don’t think this is one of then unless the term homeowners association is ambiguous in the state and susceptible to multiple interpretations.

        • Tim says:

          Fair enough. But it’d have to hold up in state court, and I doubt any judge in his/her right mind would think that the state legislature really meant “HOAs and landlords” when they wrote “HOAs.”

      • Chaosium says:

        “An HOA is specifically a group of people who own their homes.”

        Her landlord does.

    • fatediesel says:

      There is a similar federal law from 2005 that states home owners may not be restricted from hanging flags. That law, nor the New Jersey law you state, are relevant in this situation though, because this is a renter, not a home owner.

  32. Admiral_John says:

    If she signed an agreement saying no flags, then no flags. Seems pretty cut-and-dried to me.

  33. UnicornMaster says:

    If they make an exception for her, they have to make an exception for the guy with the rebel flag or anything truly offensive. I think the apartment complex is trying to control its perception and that’s well within their means.

    • tmitch says:

      Why? Why would they have to make an exception for everything else? They wouldn’t. The American Flag ONLY. That is the only exception. That is appropriate.

    • minjche says:

      The rebel flag is sometimes displayed to show support for states’ rights.

      It typically has a negative connotation related to the civil war and slavery, but my point is it’s not always meant that way.

      (Coming from a northerner who has been living in the deep south for a little while).

      • Chaosium says:

        “The rebel flag is sometimes displayed to show support for states’ rights.

        It typically has a negative connotation related to the civil war and slavery, but my point is it’s not always meant that way.”

        From a Southerner, it’s always meant that way. “States’ rights” is a racist dogwhistle.

  34. HalOfBorg says:

    I agree with landlord. She agreed to not hang anything except window blinds, so she need to go get flag-patterned window blinds.

  35. pdennison says:

    All the people who keep quoting the NJ law restricting Homeowner’s Associations from preventing display of the US flag are missing an important point: The case in question doesn’t involve an HOA, which doesn’t own the properties it attempts to govern; it involves a landlord, who DOES own the property.

    The HOA law prevents HOAs from infringing the rights of the property owners. No HOA involved here, so it’s irrelevant.

    • phrekyos says:

      Looks to me like it’s the same person quoting it like 3-4 times. I agree though, it seems to me it wouldn’t apply to an *apartment* that one does not *own*.

      I lived in an apartment complex once that had the same rules, and one of my redneck neighbors decided to hang a confederate flag in the window, in a sloppy fashion, just like the picture in the article. I asked the management several times to order them to take it down because it made the place look ghetto and embarassing, but they never had the stones to do it. I think they ended up being evicted or taking it down on their own for some reason.

      • minjche says:

        As someone who was born and lived in the north (PA/NJ, 22 years) and has now spent an extended period of time living in the deep south (GA/SC, 1 year), I have to point out that not everyone flies the Confederate Flag with bad intentions.

        I don’t have numbers or stats for this, so all I can say is that some people fly that flag as the “rebel” flag in order to celebrate the idea of states’ rights. Since this is simply a political view without any innate negative connotation, it at least speaks to the idea that that flag is not always bad.

        I’m saying this simply as an FYI.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Darn, it’s a shame I can’t make an awesome painting, because the First Amendment only covers speech, not art. Well, unless the spirit of a law can apply to something not implicitly stated in the law.

      • Cavinicus says:

        GEDS, I have nothing but respect for you, but you would make a terrible lawyer. In this discussion, you’ve now demonstrated that you don’t understand how legislation is interpreted by the judiciary, and also that you don’t really understand how the First Amendment works either. For example, if you signed a contract with a private party stating that you wouldn’t create an “awesome painting,” then you could not, in fact, legally create said painting without defaulting on the contract. Your right to create awesome paintings cannot be infringed upon by the federal government (because of the First Amendment) or the state government (because of the Fourteenth Amendment), but private parties (for example, the landlord in this case) suffer no such restriction.

        • minjche says:

          A good example of this is with bail bond contracts.

          When you sign a bail bond contract, you’re of couse saying “You guys promise to pay on my behalf and I promise I won’t run”, but you also forfeit the rights to not have your home broken into by a bounty hunter, the right to not be physically detained by said bounty hunter, the right to not have your personal records accessed by said bounty hunter, etc. You basically give up all of the rights that would be infringed on by a bounty hunter in the process of finding you.

          (Granted there’s some states that have restrictions or prohibitions on bonds, I don’t recall specifics. This is all taken from a HowStuffWorks.com podcast).

      • Thyme for an edit button says:

        Speech is subject to multiple interpretations.

        “Homeowners association” is much more limited. I looked at that statute in NJ and it says associations formed to manage parts of property held in common by all the property owners in the association. Put your judge hat on and tell me how that definition also includes landlords and tenants.

  36. Abradax says:

    No.

    She signed a contract and should be held to said contract. We have freedom of speech in this country, but what about the freedom of property owners to make the rules for their own private property?

  37. smo0 says:

    Rules is rules.

  38. sphantom111 says:

    Does the “won’t hang anything in the windows except for the blinds” rule explicitly state the type/color of the blinds?

    Are the renters limited to whatever blinds the apartment complex provides or is she free to install her own blinds?

    If she can replace the blinds with some of her own choosing why not make a blind that resembles an American flag and always keep it closed?

  39. smo0 says:

    Oh and… LOL to the sand monkey comment, LOL to stevedave posting his comment 3842378492842 times, LOL to the people who are “patriots” LOL to the Veterans who are PRO-capitalism and ANTI-establishment AT THE SAME TIME.
    L FRICKEN O FRICKEN L to the people who are all for HER EVICTION!

    You guys crack me up… and that’s what makes you beautiful unique butterfly MERRRICANZ.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Yeah, everyone here seems to have an opinion as to what should happen in this situation… except you. How very meta! Enjoy the fray from your perch.

      • smo0 says:

        ACTUALLY!! I love how smart you are… read two comments up… “rules is rules.”

        SWING AND A MISS!!!

        MUahahahahahaha

  40. Anjow says:

    She chose to agree not to display flags. Patriotism schmatriotism, it’s no get-out clause for a contract.

  41. ap0 says:

    Don’t let Glenn Beck hear about this. He might start crying while passionately expounding on terrorist Obama’s war on white people, or something.

  42. trixare4kids says:

    I’m with the landlord on this one. I own a tri-plex – a victorian house that’s been converted to 3 units; I live in one unit, rent the other two. The rental agreement for my tenants specifically states no political posters, signs, or political advertising is to be displayed on the house or on windows, etc. but that Holiday decorations are welcome. If my tenants want to put up a flag around the Fourth of July or pumpkin art around Halloween, so be it. The agreement actually states that Holiday decorations have to be taken down 2 weeks after said Holiday.

    My reasoning is that everyone who lives at my address may not agree with something that’s put up so having the outside of the house be neutral is in the best interest of it actually being HOME. I want everyone to be comfortable and feel welcome.

    If it’s in her agreement, then she should take it down; if she doesn’t like it, move.

  43. jbandsma says:

    Simple solution…if she wants to be an ass and still adhere to the contract she signed…paint the blinds as a flag.

  44. drburk says:

    If she so desires she can take a passive aggressive stance by purchasing american flag curtains opening up her blinds and closing her curtains.
    What if we charge the situation with a little more emotion? what if her husband was a POW and she was trying to hang the POW flag? I’d have a harder time saying take down the flag which is part of a morning / coping process. As landlord in that instance I may cave or offer to fly the flag on the flag pole. Which could be a good stance with the real issue the landlord could offer to fly her husband’s unit flag or the military branch flag.

  45. El_Fez says:

    Sorry, but it’s not her place, so it’s not her rules. If the landlord requires all tenants to wear pink while on the premises, then better get comfortable wearing the hello kitty gear. . . .

  46. captadam says:

    No. I understand she wants to express herself, but she doesn’t own the outside of the building. It’s not her building to decorate in such a way that she can express herself.

    Besides, I think that passersby know which country they are in. They probably don’t need to reassure themselves by seeing an American flag fly overhead.

  47. frank64 says:

    Why not a compromise? They could allow her to put the flag outside on a pole? Looks good, much better than having it up in a window.

  48. Thyme for an edit button says:

    No, she should not get an exception. If landlord gives her an exception, he or she will have to give other exceptions or possibly face a claim for discrimination. What happens when someone else wants to display the flag of another country because that is where they are from?

  49. dush says:

    You have the right to burn a flag, but not fly it proudly on private property.

    • ARP says:

      Well, if the rental agreement says no fires, you can’t burn it either.

      Please stop with the statements from the Palin School of Constitutional Studies.

      The first amendment says the GOVERNMENT can’t stop you from exercising your free speech rights. In a private agreement, you can agree to this. There are some limited exceptions (an employer can’t usually stop you from engaging in speech activities off the clock, etc.), but this is not one of them.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Actually, the no open flames rule will take care of the flag burning issue.

    • evnmorlo says:

      It’s not her property.

    • minjche says:

      Normally I’d quote Voltaire and say “A witty saying proves nothing” except your comment isn’t witty.

  50. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    This is just another example of why you should always thoroughly read any contract you sign.

  51. MacRtst says:

    She needs to get creative and have blinds made that look like a flag when they are closed.

    problem solved!

    • phrekyos says:

      Not really. I’ve never been in an apartment where you can a) change the blinds or b) have additional window coverings behind them that aren’t white to the outside or c) have things in front of the blinds.

  52. Thresher says:

    The landlord has the right to set the conditions of occupancy. The rentee should take the flag down.

    On the other hand, the landlord is looking at a world of hurt in the court of public opinion. Seems to me that this might be one of those circumstances where the landlord might wave a rule.

  53. The Marionette says:

    No. She signed the contract saying she wouldn’t hang posters, pictures or flags. I don’t know what it is with the people in the stories (or maybe just the consumerist) that thing that even though they signed a contract saying they could/couldn’t do something, they have the right to just break it. From Being late on a mortgage payment to displaying a flag, if you sign a contract and it isn’t expired then you have to abide by it, or leave. Very simple, doesn’t really need the opinion of a mass amount of people.

    • peebozi says:

      Who said anything about breaking it. There are rules in the agreement and there are remedies the LL can pursue if those rules are broken. Also, she has every right to shame the landlord. Why do you hate America and the 1st amendment?

  54. erratapage says:

    Tenants do not have any real power in negotiating these kinds of clauses out of leases. I know when I’ve read these clauses, it never occurs to me that there is a particular infringement upon a right that I might want to have in the future. You just tend to gloss over everything to make sure that the money is right. I’m somewhat sympathetic to this woman, not because I think there should be any particular exception made for a flag, but because what she is doing is probably not harming anyone, and I object to overly restrictive lease prohibitions.

    I suppose an apartment complex might not look so nice if everyone hung various and sundry flags and posters in their windows, but it might suit public opinion and free speech a little better to help tenants express themselves in a more upscale way, rather than restrict heartfelt speech altogether.

  55. NYGuy1976 says:

    I thought Bush singed some law years ago that no one can restrict the display of an American flag including an HOA.

    • fatediesel says:

      That was a 2005 law but it only stated homeowners cannot be prohibited from displaying a flag. It did not mention renters.

  56. msky says:

    Rules are rules. There is no reason why rules should not apply to her.

    • peebozi says:

      You mean the 1st amendment rule? What’s the problem here? There’s an agreement the LL is interpreting one way and she is interpreting another. If he feels so strongly that his interpretation is correct then he should commence legal proceedings.

      Why do you hate her, America, soldiers and the 1st amendment?? You seem to be targeting her for exercising her 1st amendment right to shame the LL.

      • ARP says:

        Is this satire? My snark meter is off.

        Otherwise, I’m guessing you’re a graduate of the Sarah Palin School of Constitutional Studies.

      • minjche says:

        I’m hoping you’re joking. I can’t tell at the moment.

        The first amendment prohibits congress from abridging free speech, and the fourteenth amendment does the same for states. This is a dispute between two private individuals, so neither amendment applies.

  57. Unicorn-Chaser says:

    The content of the flag is irrelevant. Whether the flag be American or a favorite sports team. She already made a prior agreement not to fly a flag so this is pretty cut and dry if you ask me. If she is truly patriotic she should honor the contract she signed.

  58. twiggr says:

    Is there not a Federal law against banning the display of the American flag?

  59. savdavid says:

    Excuse me,,,,did she read the lease? If not……to bad!

  60. Destra says:

    Nope! We live in a free country, and similarly are free to contract as we please. She signed a contract to not hang a flag, and she’s still free to hang it, but the landlord is also within her legal rights to kick the woman out.

  61. Xene says:

    It would be much simpler for her to get some nice American flag curtains. It may be tacky but she would be in compliance.

  62. eddikat says:

    I’m torn on this one, but when I’m torn I have to come down on the side of free market.

    If the landlord does not allow flags, time to look at new apartments when your lease is up.

  63. banmojo says:

    The law should side with the landlord in this case, unless congress wants to make it nationwide that anyone has the right to show their patriotism by displaying the flag in their home/car window. Personally I think they should make it so; I mean, we are at war, and a visual show of support for our troops is the least we can do – we should all be doing much much more of course.

  64. TBGBoodler says:

    Do the other tenants have curtains? Why doesn’t she just hang two flags from a curtain rod to cover the window completely), open the blinds all the way and display her “patriotism” that way?

  65. nightmage61 says:

    It is the American flag, yes it gets an exception, always.

    What is it with folks who think a contract is some kind of magic spell that must be obeyed? A contract is civil law, anything in a contract can be challenged. Also, just because something is in a contract does not make it right or legal.

    I’m a Navy vet, I say let her flay her flag (and yes it is displayed correctly). If they (management) keep giving her grief over it, spread the word and let em take her to court.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      People like it when contracts are followed because it gives them,confidence to do business in the world. Why would I contract for things if people could just willy billy break it for reasons important to only them without consequence?

      She is welcome to fly her flag against her promise not to do so. She just needs to take responsibility and accept the consequences of her broken promise, which can include eviction and damages. She can dislike it and rail against it all she likes. She will still lose under the law. Maybe the court of public opinion will send her donations to move somewhere else where she can make promises more to her liking.

    • Mauvaise says:

      But legally it doesn’t get an “exception, always”.

    • minjche says:

      Anything in a contract can be challenged, yes, but that has to occur BEFORE the lessee signs the contract.

      Thank you for your service, though.

  66. kityglitr says:

    Not to be a meanie, but this woman signed a rental agreement. Is she able to purchase an apartment approved flag holder and affix it to her door? I think the landlord is just against the flag being in the window, not the flag itself.

  67. Galium says:

    Easily solved, make a rectangular plaster cast, paint the stars and stripes on it then put it in the window. It would be a sculpture, the lease did not say anything about a sculpture. Everyone happy. Landlords mistake in not saying nothing could be hung in the windows.

  68. peebozi says:

    Does anyone have a problem with this woman exercising her 1st Amendment rights? Is there something wrong with this woman publicly shaming the LL utilizing said 1st Amendment rights??

    If you said “yes” to the above questions then simply ask yourself “why do you hate America?”!!!

    The landlord hasn’t proven that the rental agreement prohibits flags in the window, he is only interpreting the language in a manner that conveys his hatred of the USA. If she concedes and takes the flag down I can only surmise it was because of threats from the LL’s liar, er lawyer, about entangling the poor woman in a protracted and expensive legal fight. Yay for corporations!!!

    • ARP says:

      OK- this is the 2nd posting on this, so I’m not sure its not snark. I know you think Glen Beck and Sarah Palin are infallible, but trust me, they’re wrong here. A few comments:

      1) You see, if you actually read that 1st Amendment that you love to reference, it says that the GOVERNMENT (Congress to be specific) can’t abridge your free speech rights. This is not the government, this is two private individuals in a civil matter. And no, having a judge enforce the contract doesn’t make it a 1st Amendment issue. Now she may refuse to honor that judicial order, but then she’ll be liabile for damages and eviction.

      2) Just because this guy doesn’t want flags in the windows of his apartment buildings, doesn’t make him less patriotic or hate America. Stay with me here- putting a magnetic yellow ribbon on your giant SUV, doesn’t make you patriotic. Helping your fellow man, standing up everyone’s rights (even the ones you don’t agree with, like here), treating people with dignity and respect, etc. is patriotic.

      3) you know that wearing clothing with the flag on it is against the flag code, correct? So when you wear a shirt with the American flag to your Tea Party rallies, you’re violating the flag code, and in your little world, hate America.

      §176. Respect for flag
      No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
      (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
      (b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
      (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
      (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
      (e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
      (f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
      (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
      (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
      (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
      (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
      (k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

      • peebozi says:

        My replies below:

        Prelude: beck and palin….the best thing about them ran down their mother’s leg! Hey Ooooooooooooh!

        1) I think you missed my point. I’m not saying she has a 1st amendment right to display the flag and the LL is infringing on her right (most people understand it’s the gov’t that shouldn’t be able to control speech), I’m saying, stay with me here, she has a 1st amendment right to speak about the LL’s actions to the media and, in turn, publicly shame the LL into allowing her to keep the flag.

        2) The guy could have turned a blind eye…if he loved America. I tried to stay with you but your breadth of discussion lost me.

        3) I really don’t care about the flag code (except for the “touching the ground” thing, but that’s more a result of my position as “Flag Boy” in elementary school and my mild OCD, but i digress). It’s a piece of cloth with a beautiful design that’s made in china using child labor and unfair trade practices.

        And it’s getting to be regoddamndiculous when a worthless congress attempts to legislate the ability to burn a flag….when that the PROPER FUCKING WAY TO DISPOSE OF A FLAG, per the flag code!!!!

        The woman is being denigrated simply for exercising her free speech rights.

        • minjche says:

          I don’t think anyone is making the point that this woman shouldn’t be able to voice her opinion or share her story, so you’re a little misguided there.

          The same way that she’s able to tell her story, the commenters on this site are able to say that she is incorrect in her interpretation of her lease.

          And “shaming” her landlord is a pretty abhorrent way to conduct oneself. It’s of course protected for her to be able to do that, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Poo. No one is allowed to put ANYTHING in the windows and she’s trying to break the rule. The fact that it is a flag is irrelevant. If it were a poster of an LOLcat, she probably wouldn’t be gathering much support because people don’t lose their everloving minds over LOLcats the way they do over the stupid flag.

      Which, even though I’m American born and bred, I think is ugly. :P

    • minjche says:

      Your extreme example and gross generalization of “If you believe X, you hate America” really invalidates any point you’re trying to make. It just makes you sound like a loony.

    • Chaosium says:

      “If you said “yes” to the above questions then simply ask yourself “why do you hate America?”!!!”

      I hate America because people like yourself who have never read the constitution fill it.

  69. mindaika says:

    Should the woman get an exception from Contract Law because she doesn’t feel like following it any more? No.

  70. Noadi says:

    Looks to me like she’s being an idiot. The tenant could have gone to the landlord and politely asked for an exception to her rental agreement and there’s a good chance the landlord would have considered that a reasonable request if she proposed a tasteful way of displaying it (say by installing a mount for the flag outside her window at her own expense). However she decided to put a flag up in a way that was against her rental agreement, that isn’t in good taste by using it practically as a curtain, and by not even asking her landlord first. I don’t have much sympathy for her.

  71. RevancheRM says:

    I agree with you, Pax. I didn’t see anywhere in there that it applied to anyone other than associations (i.e., multiple-owner dwellings). I think ParingKnife may have limited his reading to the summary, and that part confused his understanding.

  72. davidc says:

    Leasing Agreement … Portion of society called “Renters”.

    The problem with all of this is that if *all* (or the overwhelming majority) of the leasing agreements have the same restrictions, then you are basically *forcing* all of those restrictions onto a “class” in society.

    So now you have crossed over from the rights of a property owner to the rights of a societal class. Especially considering the “property owner” is a business venture and not your primary residence.

    So yes, this family signed a lease, but whether those leasing terms, in aggregate, are entirely enforceable or border on class discrimination is up for the lawmakers and judicial system to work out.

    So yea, it’s not a clear cut as “they signed a lease and the fine print states X,Y and Z”.

  73. balderdashed says:

    If she refuses to abide by the terms of her lease, she should be evicted. I assume she will have to “budge” — when an unlawful detainer suit is filed, and a Sheriff arrives to bodily remove her.

  74. SinA says:

    FTR – the photo shows a flag on the inside of the window.

  75. Greyfox2401 says:

    If she signed an agreement then she has to follow it or risk eviction and there’s nothing she or an attorney could do about it.

  76. baristabrawl says:

    No. Take down the damn flag! If it were an Israeli Flag or Tibetan Prayer flags every white person this side of the Mississippi would tell her to stop. The issue isn’t her patriotism or the building owner’s lack of it but rather him trying to keep EVERYONE from putting whatever they want. What goes on for one, goes on for all, or it doesn’t go on.

  77. Sparty999 says:

    I was under the assumption that there could be know law that restricted the display of the American flag…

  78. Eli the Ice Man says:

    The landlord is right, she signed a contract and is now trying to tug at emotional heart strings to get her way. I’m all about flying the flag, but a contract is a contract and my personal convictions tell me to honour that when I’m playing by someone else’s rules.

  79. HogwartsProfessor says:

    No, she shouldn’t be allowed an exception. This isn’t about patriotism; it’s about the landlord trying to keep the place from looking like crap with a hodgepodge of junk in the windows. When you drive by a place like that, it looks awful. That turns away potential renters.

    She signed the agreement so no flag. If she wants to hang one up, let her put it on the wall in her living room.

  80. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    No exception. She signed a binding legal agreement, now she’s not honoring her word. She needs to take the flag down.

  81. sixidahos says:

    I wear my patriotism in my heart, not my window. I give back to my community and make a point to thank soldiers for serving their country. hanging a flag outside my window is tacky, except on flag day or the 4th.

  82. H3ion says:

    It’s not a First Amendment issue because it’s not government action. The Freedom to Display the Flag Act doesn’t apply because by its terms, it applies only to residential real estate where the persons desiring to display the flag have some ownership interest. That is, condo, co-op, HOA, etc. The OP is a tenant and the landlord has the right to set the rules for his own property. A tenant can accept those rules (sign a lease) or live elsewhere.

    All that said, I think it does no one harm (yes, I do understand contract) to let the woman hang the flag inside the building, in her window. Her husband is in the Navy, apparently not based in Nebraska because there aren’t too many blue water vessels available in Nebraska. And I’m sure she is viewing her hanging the flag as a gesture of support,

    There was a recent case where a veteran was challenged by a municipality on the size of his flag. It was larger than the municipal code permitted. He won. Not on point, but useful.

    As a compromise, she could hang the flag from the ceiling, back inside from the window, but visible from outside when she opens here blinds, curtains, whatever. She would be in compliance because nothing was hanging in the window but she’d accomplish her goal at the loss of a little bit of space.

  83. Smorgasbord says:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but what she can do is to start a petition from the other tenants to allow just the American flag to be displayed. It would have to be no bigger than a certain size and enough tenants would have to agree to it before the landlord would consider it.

    I live in an apartment complex that has the same rules. I wouldn’t mind it if they allowed flags of the country the tenants are citizens of. I think it would make it more interesting to see different national flags.

  84. Running_Fool says:

    There was a similar issue with a landlord tenant in Oshkosh, WI. The landlord had the policy in effect with good intentions but modified it after all the bad press that they had received. The new policy allows for patriotic flags, but would disallow any decorative flags.

  85. LordofthePing says:

    So about the pic accompanying this post…
    The red stripes are pepperoni, the white stripes are mozzarella, the blue is mozzarella covered in food coloring, and the stars were made by a cookie cutter from slices of cheese ? Does that sound right?

  86. lawgirl502 says:

    There is no question that the agreement that she was coersed into signing is a violation of her Constitional rights, specifically under the 1st Amendment, therefore it is invalid and her flag can and should indeed fly high! PS What a douchebag anti-American that landlord is.

    • RevancheRM says:

      Wrong.

    • minjche says:

      1) “coersed”? There’s no mention that she did or didn’t willfully sign her lease to live in her apartment. I think suggesting she was “coersed” is irresponsible and unfounded.

      2) The first amendment (which I encourage you to go read) specifically prohibits congress from creating laws that abridge free speech, and the fourteenth amendment has the same effect for states. The landlord is a private individual, and the renter signed a lease that does not allow anything (American flags or otherwise) to be hung in the window. Since neither Congress or her state are the ones saying she can’t fly the flag, this is not an issue of constitutionality. The renter would have had the chance to read the lease before signing it, and if she wanted to challenge that part of the lease she would have needed to do so before signing.

      3) It’s a good exercise to sometimes look at things from multiple perspectives. What you see is a landlord saying a renter can’t fly an American flag, which of course makes the landlord look un-American. What someone else may see is that the renter is deliberately contradicting a contract that she signed and putting herself above established contract law, while the landlord is defending his right to manage the property he owns as he sees fit.

      Your claim that the landlord is “un-American” is a bit of tunnel-vision and selective reasoning.

      You can probably tell that I side with the landlord. I’d love to see an American flag flying anywhere, but not at the cost of the laws our founding fathers fought so hard to establish.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        Her name is “lawgirl.” Therefore, your comment coerces the violation of her first amendment rights, for our children. You should plead the fifth amendment before she gets all de jure on you or something.

    • Chaosium says:

      Why do you call yourself “lawgirl” if you don’t understand how “laws” work? You’ve never gotten a JD, you’re not a law student, I’m sure you may not even have a degree.

  87. CountryJustice says:

    I understand–and agree with–the landlords point of view.

    The Armenians in my building, however, would strongly disagree. Those guys LOVE flying the ol’ Stars and Stripes. :D

  88. Aaronjk says:

    How bout curtains? Are those allowed? How about a nice set of American flag curtains?

  89. 99 1/2 Days says:

    Not surprised by the hostility of the posters here towards this woman.

  90. Chaosium says:

    “you don’t stand for the individual’s right to exercise her 1st amendment by bringing attention to this story??!?!?!?”

    I stand for the right of an individual being an ignorant bitch, sure. I can also call her such!

  91. Everett says:

    Let’s fix this. Put up blinds that when they are closed, have a print of an American Flag on them. Then you aren’t breaking the rules. You get your patriotism, you don’t break the rules, and nobody will ever hear about this again.

  92. Siendra says:

    Not a chance. She signed the agreement and it isn’t her property. End of story.

  93. dunaja says:

    I completely agree she needs to honor her rental agreement.

    That having been said, why do landlords put this specific clause in a rental agreement? My wife is Brazilian, and when I put a Brazilian flag in (the inside of) my window for the span of one game during the World Cup, the reaction I got was equal to if I had gone on an armed rampage.

    Is the landlord concerned with prospective renters being turned off by the flags? “Hmmm… I wanted to live here, but… this place is just too patriotic. I just don’t love America this much, sorry.”

    If the issue is that someone may hang a profane or offensive flag, why not put a clause in the rental agreement that says the landlord can tell you to take one down for any reason? That way, an American flag might be able to stay, while your neighbor’s Nazi flag could be removed. And you can’t sue, because you agreed that it is the discretion of the landlord.

  94. LandruBek says:

    “Sue if you must this Cornhusker head, but spare my country’s flag,” she said.

  95. Wolfbird says:

    Of course not, she signed something. It doesn’t matter if she thinks it’s a stupid rule, that’s not how contracts work. It really doesn’t matter if she wants to hang up a picture of a kitten or the antichrist, a deal’s a deal.

  96. mrstu says:

    A true patriot would respect the rule of law and her own word, and keep to the rental agreement, or move out if she finds it that offensive.

  97. NumberSix says:

    How many times do we have to go through this?

    A person can display the flag any time they want. Period. Landlords loose this battle every time.

    • Chaosium says:

      “How many times do we have to go through this?

      A person can display the flag any time they want. Period. Landlords loose this battle every time.”

      In the cases you make up, sure.

  98. Doc Waffle says:

    While there should be no exception here, the answer to me seem simple. If the blinds are allowed then get creative. Make the blinds a flag by coloring the slats of the blinds red, white, and blue. Use star stickers on the blue slats to finish your fake, legally compliant flag…