As we are now only about a month away from the election, political yard signs in Arlington are becoming more prevalent. While most single-family homes in Arlington are owner-occupied, there are a decent amount of rental homes scattered throughout different neighborhoods in Arlington County.
Today we are asking a simple, yet often misconstrued question: Is a landlord allowed to place a political sign on their property that is currently tenant-occupied?
There are two schools of thought here.
The first goes something like this: “The landlord owns the property so they can do with it as they please. The tenant does not own the property and therefore does not have the right to erect any sort of sign.”
And the second: “The tenant lives in the property and therefore has the right to put up a sign if he or she chooses to do so, regardless of who owns the property.”
So who’s right? Well, let’s take a look at the Virginia Common Law lease for the exact wording to see where this would fall under the lease conditions:
There you have it. From a tenant’s point-of-view, you are not allowed to erect any sort of sign on the premise.
And how about now from the landlord’s point-of-view?
As a landlord, you are only legally allowed to access your property for a few reasons and erecting a political sign is certainly not one of them.
Neither party is allowed to erect a sign. You will still see signs out front of homes in Arlington that are clearly renter-occupied. Some landlords are out-of-town, some landlords are unaware of the current state of the premise, and others simply just do not care.
Should there be a sign that has been put up by the tenant, what type of recourse would the landlord have?
Your best bet to resolve the issue would just be to talk to your tenants about not putting up a sign in the first place, or you can simply remove the sign as the tenant has violated the lease by putting up the sign in the first place.
But what is not acceptable behavior from a landlord would be to erect a political sign in the front yard of your rental property without prior approval from your tenants. This is an easy way to make an enemy out of your tenants as well as the tenant’s neighbors (or an ally depending on the sign!). But seriously, it’s a bad look for all parties involved when a landlord tries to push his or her political beliefs on to the tenants.
Happy Election season and may your lawn and your Facebook feed be free from other individuals pushing their political beliefs in your face..although we both know that is a long shot!