“I’m sorry, but you’re kids can’t play outside,” said the onsite manager. “Why not?” asked the tenant, “they are 10 and 11 years old.” “Because those are the rules and kids under 14 can’t play alone,” the manager replied. “I didn’t agree to those rules, and they aren’t doing anything wrong” said the tenant. “Yes, you agreed to the rules when you signed your lease, so unless you are going to stay outside and watch them, then they are going to have to go inside,” calmly replied the manager. The apartment complex had a nice play area, and her kids weren’t making any noise, but rather than fight with the manager, the tenant decided to go home and read the lease. Sure enough, right in her lease it stated: “Children under the age of 14 must be supervised at all times.”
Landlords often put such restrictions into tenants’ leases because they want their apartment complexes to be “quiet.” Because who wants to rent an apartment at a noisy apartment complex? But are these restrictions legal? In most cases, no. But this doesn’t stop landlords from continuing to put them into tenants’ leases.
Children need to be able to play to properly develop. In fact, experts say that play is essential for proper brain development. According to Kenneth Ginsburg, “Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.” Kori Ellis adds, ” Play is actually so essential to a child’s well-being that it has been recognized by the United Nations Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.” Imagine telling that to your apartment manager?
If playing is so important, then why do so many landlords oppose it? To be frank, I have my opinions (as I’m sure you do), but I can assure you that if your landlord is preventing your children from playing outside, then it is having a negative impact on your kids. So the question boils down to: Is there anything you can do to change the situation? Yes, there is. Pick up the phone and call me to talk (free of charge) about what I might be able to do to help you and your children.