“Those Are The Rules That You Signed”

When most people look for a new place to live, they think about what the new place has to offer. Are there enough bedrooms?  Does the apartment complex have a pool? Is there a gym on site? How far away is the local grocery store? Are there good schools nearby? Is there a play area for kids? Is public transportation available? Is the rent fair?

Put simply, most people don’t think much about what an apartment complex’s rules are before they sign the lease. And this is particularly true for families with children. Who has the time to read through a whole bunch of apartment rules and regulations while the manager is sitting across the desk waiting for you to sign the lease?

But then one day the manager shows up at your apartment and says, “I found your child sitting outside without adult supervision. That’s against the rules.” “The rules?” you say, “He’s 15 years old. He’s not doing anything wrong.” “Sorry,” says the manager, “but if he’s going to be outside, then you have to supervise him.  Otherwise, I’m going to have to write you up.”

To be frank, most parents don’t have to time to be babysitting 15-year-olds who simply want to go outside and hang out with their friends after school.

So what is a parent supposed to do if they run into these type of rules? On the one hand, if a parent tells his or her children to simply disobey the rules, then they run the risk of being served a warning notice, or they may even face an eviction.  That’s the last thing a family needs.

On the other hand, often when a parent tries to reason with a manager about such rules, then the manager simply replies, “I’m sorry, but those are the rules that you signed.”

Put simply, families with children are often put between a rock and a hard place. If they disobey the rules and allow their children to be outside without adult supervision, then they run the risk of being evicted for breaking the rules. But if they obey the rules, then they are forced to make their children stay inside all the time.  The apartment complex starts to feel like a prison instead of a home.

Isn’t there a better choice? Yes, there is. While apartment complexes are allowed to enact and enforce reasonable rules, the type of supervision rule mentioned above has been found to be unreasonable (and therefore illegal), even if you signed the rules! Unfortunately, it normally takes the help of a lawyer to get an apartment complex to realize that it needs to change its rules. If you are in that situation, then, please, get in touch with us.