Get Inside, Now!

All too often it happens. A child is playing in the common areas of an apartment complex and he or she lets out a shout of excitement. The next thing you know, out comes the apartment manager and he or she tells the child to “Get inside, now! There is no screaming out here!” Is this wrong? In most cases, yes, it is wrong. But what can be done about it? Recently I heard from a tenant in Los Angeles whose children were forbidden from riding their bikes in the complex’s driveway, for they were supposedly disturbing one of the tenants who worked nights. As a result, the manager refused to let the children ride their bikes on the property. To make matters worse, the children were under ten years old and lived on a busy street. As such, the tenants had to choose between forbidding their children from riding their bikes on the premises and letting them ride on the sidewalk next to a busy street. In that case, the landlord was preventing children from enjoying the use of the premises because of the landlord’s desire to let the adult tenant sleep. In other words, the landlord was giving preference to the adult. In law, we call that discrimination.