Tenants and Firearms
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07-08-2013, 08:49 PM
Tenants and Firearms
Question: Can a landlord state in a lease that firearms are prohibited items on their property and said tenant is subject to eviction if they are discovered to be stored there?

My first thought is yes, this is legal to do, but there may be clauses in the tenant/landlord laws for a particular state or jurisdiction that prohibit this. Does anyone know?

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07-08-2013, 08:54 PM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
In digging around a bit it looks like a landlord can prohibit firearms much like they can prohibit pets.

I am sure that different jurisdictions have different laws.

But how do you enforce that? I have know plenty of people that have smuggled in pets, particularly house cats.

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07-08-2013, 08:59 PM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
When I was in college, I lived in an apt complex which explicitly spelled this out in the lease.

My friends and I never had guns there. We did keep ICLAs - Internal Combustion Linear Accelerators - there, but no guns. Smile

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07-08-2013, 10:10 PM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
Whether firearms can be prohibited really depends on the laws, typically state by state.

In Wisconsin where I live, concealed carry was just passed when the GOP took over all the state levels of government. Prior to this law being passed, whether the law allowed for a property owner to ban weapons as a provision of a lease was not in question--no problem doing this at all. Wisconsin is an example where the law has change from one practice to a somewhat ambiguous status as I describe below.

Since the concealed carry law has passed, guns are still banned in general from government or school property. Property owners have the right, with clearly posted notice, to prohibit all weapons on their premises. Businesses and employers may ban weapons on the premises, but may not in general ban weapons that are in transport such as in a vehicle in a parking lot. The law specifically carves out guns stored in vehicles in parking structures of any residences, including university campus residences.

The law does allow banning weapons being brought onto property or through a common area of an apartment building for anyone who is not the owner or resident of the property, but excludes actual residents from the ban allowance. However this law has created some ambiguity which has not yet been tested anywhere in state court. The concealed carry law appears to forbid banning carrying weapons by residents in multiple tenant buildings like apartments or condos. However state law has in general recognized property rights to include the right of a property owner to agree by contract just about anything about the allowed use of a property. Property owners in the area I live in have in general disregarded the law on concealed carry. The question is whether two parties can by contract (executing a lease) agree that guns will not be allowed. The concealed carry law is just a law whereas property rights are right in the state constitution. It's not unreasonable to expect that if the law were challenged in court, that the court would decide that the prohibition on banning weapons in an apartment building is only applicable where the tenants have not agreed in their lease to otherwise not possess them in their residence. However until such a case lands in state court, nobody really knows how the law will be interpreted.
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08-08-2013, 06:46 AM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
Not in Massachusetts, in general. School property is different.

Generally, a tenant in MA has the same rights as a homeowner.

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08-08-2013, 07:02 AM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
I see nothing wrong with a landlord prohibiting the presence of firearms. If it is against the law, banning pets should be against the law as well.

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08-08-2013, 07:35 AM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
(08-08-2013 07:02 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  I see nothing wrong with a landlord prohibiting the presence of firearms. If it is against the law, banning pets should be against the law as well.

I'd say any parallel there is vastly outweighed by the difference.

Pets are active agents that can cause problems - damage, odor, biting, etc.

Firearms are inanimate objects.

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08-08-2013, 07:40 AM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
(08-08-2013 07:35 AM)Chas Wrote:  I'd say any parallel there is vastly outweighed by the difference.

Pets are active agents that can cause problems - damage, odor, biting, etc.

Firearms are inanimate objects.

I am not equating the two objects, I am demonstrating the landlord's right to set rules for his own private property.

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08-08-2013, 07:44 AM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
(08-08-2013 07:40 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(08-08-2013 07:35 AM)Chas Wrote:  I'd say any parallel there is vastly outweighed by the difference.

Pets are active agents that can cause problems - damage, odor, biting, etc.

Firearms are inanimate objects.

I am not equating the two objects, I am demonstrating the landlord's right to set rules for his own private property.

And that right is limited by tenants' rights.

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08-08-2013, 07:49 AM
RE: Tenants and Firearms
(08-08-2013 07:44 AM)Chas Wrote:  And that right is limited by tenants' rights.

The tenant agrees to the contract provided when the property is rented.

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