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Thread: VA Apt Lease Bans Firearms. Is this legal?

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    I just read this in a lease agreement and wanted to know if this has any real bearing on the ability to keep firearms at this residence. Can they evict the renter for a violation of their no firearm policy.

    This apt is in Charlottesville, VA near the UVA campus but is not owned by the university and obviously not on campus.

    11. PETS AND FIREARMS: Pets are not allowed without the express written consent of Landlord, which must be obtained BEFORE the pet is brought onto the premises. Resident understands that there will be additional fees charged in the event that permission for a pet is given. Firearms are not allowed on the premises.
    It is lumped with pets, I did not alter this in any way.

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    Regular Member TexasNative's Avatar
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    I know that the Virginia Code says that firearms cannot be prohibited from public housing, but as far as I know, a private entity who offers a residence for lease is free to prohibit firearms from their property.

    Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure, but that's how I understand it.

    ~ Boyd

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I seem to recall a court case about this very issue and the lessor cannot restrict a tenant from keeping firearms in his apartment. A search should be able to turn this one up for you.

    Ok, I just found a paragraph about this in the Virginia Gun Owner's Guide, 2006 edition, page 27. Here is what it says.

    "A landlord cannot prohibit or restrict your tenancy in any public housing for lawful possession of any firearms. Under 55-248.9, any such provision in a lease is unenforceable, and if a landlord brings suit against a tenant on such grounds, the tenant may recover actual damages and attorney's fees from the landlord."



    § 55-248.9. Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.
    A. A rental agreement shall not contain provisions that the tenant:
    1. Agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies under this chapter;
    2. Agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies pertaining to the 120-day conversion or rehabilitation notice required in the Condominium Act (§ 55-79.39 et seq.), the Virginia Real Estate Cooperative Act (§ 55-424 et seq.) or Chapter 13 (§ 55-217 et seq.) of this title;
    3. Authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;
    4. Agrees to pay the landlord's attorney's fees except as provided in this chapter;
    5. Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord to the tenant arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the costs connected therewith;
    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation; or
    7. Agrees to both the payment of a security deposit and the provision of a bond or commercial insurance policy purchased by the tenant to secure the performance of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement, if the total of the security deposit and the bond or insurance premium exceeds the amount of two months' periodic rent.
    B. A provision prohibited by subsection A included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord brings an action to enforce any of the prohibited provisions, the tenant may recover actual damages sustained by him and reasonable attorney's fees.




    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    TexasNative wrote:
    I know that the Virginia Code says that firearms cannot be prohibited from public housing, but as far as I know, a private entity who offers a residence for lease is free to prohibit firearms from their property.

    Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure, but that's how I understand it.

    ~ Boyd
    For apartments and similar rental properties, the lessor may not restrict your right. However, I wouldn't be surprised if a boarding house or a room let in a private home may be an exception.

    Does anyone know about these conditions?

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    So is an apartment complex run by a leasing private or public housing?

    I am not sure of the definitions. Both the answers here seem reasonable, but the second is more attractive obviously.

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    I'm thinking unless you live in project housing then your complex is run by a private leasing company.

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    curtiswr wrote:
    I'm thinking unless you live in project housing then your complex is run by a private leasing company.
    I don't see where Section 55-248.9 makes any distinction. From how I read it, they cannot prohibit you from owning or carrying a firearm - public or private. The code is clear

    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation; or

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    I'm not saying that there is a distinction and whether or not one or the other can limit one's rights.. I was just answering his question about whether or not he was in what would be considered a public housing deal.

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    curtiswr wrote:
    I'm not saying that there is a distinction and whether or not one or the other can limit one's rights.. I was just answering his question about whether or not he was in what would be considered a public housing deal.
    Excuse my reading ability, I have had a few glasses of wine

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    For apartments and similar rental properties, the lessor may not restrict your right. However, I wouldn't be surprised if a boarding house or a room let in a private home may be an exception.
    Wait, you quoted it exactly in your prior post:

    A landlord cannot prohibit or restrict your tenancy in any public housing for lawful possession of any firearms. Under 55-248.9, any such provision in a lease is unenforceable, and if a landlord brings suit against a tenant on such grounds, the tenant may recover actual damages and attorney's fees from the landlord.
    And then in the law you quoted below that:

    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation;
    So, it very clearly says what I said it says in my first response. The law against the prohibition of firearms in dwelling units only applies to public housing.

    ~ Boyd

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    This was previously discussed . The consensus then, as well, was that the Virginia law forbidding the prohibition of firearms applied to public housing. This, http://www.hud.gov, is public housing.


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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    TexasNative wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    For apartments and similar rental properties, the lessor may not restrict your right. However, I wouldn't be surprised if a boarding house or a room let in a private home may be an exception.
    Wait, you quoted it exactly in your prior post:

    A landlord cannot prohibit or restrict your tenancy in any public housing for lawful possession of any firearms. Under 55-248.9, any such provision in a lease is unenforceable, and if a landlord brings suit against a tenant on such grounds, the tenant may recover actual damages and attorney's fees from the landlord.
    And then in the law you quoted below that:

    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation;
    So, it very clearly says what I said it says in my first response. The law against the prohibition of firearms in dwelling units only applies to public housing.

    ~ Boyd
    You know, I've read through these posts and I, of course, saw and understand that what I posted referred to public housing, but I still seem to recall having read about a case such as this that came up here in Virginia where a lessor (apartment, I think) was found to be in violation of the law for trying to prevent a renter from having firearms on the premises.

    Actually, this would be a clear civil rights violation which we all know is a no-no. It would be the same as a lessor trying to prohibit your freedom of speech or assembly or any of your other rights. And then there is this.

    Do you sign a lease when living in "public" (government owned), public housing? Oh and I just remembered an incident with Bill Clinton and Janet Reno in a Chicago public housing project where they wanted to be able to enter dwellings and search for guns. They were promptly told that this would be in violation and not to even consider it.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the term "public housing" used in the context of the Virginia Code refers to housing open to rent to the general public.

    This is interesting and a good thread for those who do rent apartments.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I just found something else from this link.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Ivb...t&resnum=3

    Look under "Prohibited Lease Provisions".

    I have lived in three apartments where I had guns of varying types. Never had any concerns whatsoever in Virginia. I suspect your lease is a generic lease and under everything I have read, such a restriction would be in violation of Virginia law.


    Found something else. Read this link and look under illegal conditions on page 21.

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consume...dlord_book.pdf

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member TexasNative's Avatar
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    I think that until you find (or file) a case that establishes this as a civil rights violation, we're just going to have to read the law as it's written: the limitation applies only to public housing. And besides, even if the law were broader than public housing, it's Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant law, not civil rights law.

    And yes, I'm pretty sure that tenants sign a lease for public housing.

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    Regular Member TexasNative's Avatar
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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    ...such a restriction would be in violation of Virginia law.
    Can you point to a Virginia law that such a lease clause violates? Because it sure can't be the one we've been discussing.

    ~ Boyd

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    TexasNative wrote:
    SouthernBoy wrote:
    ...such a restriction would be in violation of Virginia law.
    Can you point to a Virginia law that such a lease clause violates? Because it sure can't be the one we've been discussing.

    ~ Boyd
    Go read page 21 of the last link I provided. I would bet $100 that in Virginia, you do not waive your civil rights when renting a dwelling in an apartment. As this section clearly states, that such a provision in a lease is not only unenforceable, but illegal as well and therefore cannot be imposed upon a renter.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    § 55-248.9. Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.
    A. A rental agreement shall not contain provisions that the tenant:
    1. Agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies under this chapter;
    2. Agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies pertaining to the 120-day conversion or rehabilitation notice required in the Condominium Act (§ 55-79.39 et seq.), the Virginia Real Estate Cooperative Act (§ 55-424 et seq.) or Chapter 13 (§ 55-217 et seq.) of this title;
    3. Authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;
    4. Agrees to pay the landlord's attorney's fees except as provided in this chapter;
    5. Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord to the tenant arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the costs connected therewith;
    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation; or
    7. Agrees to both the payment of a security deposit and the provision of a bond or commercial insurance policy purchased by the tenant to secure the performance of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement, if the total of the security deposit and the bond or insurance premium exceeds the amount of two months' periodic rent.
    B. A provision prohibited by subsection A included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord brings an action to enforce any of the prohibited provisions, the tenant may recover actual damages sustained by him and reasonable attorney's fees.
    Read it in conjunction with 55-248.3:1 ....

    § 55-248.3:1. Applicability of chapter.

    This chapter shall apply to all rental agreements entered into on or after July 1, 1974, which are not exempted pursuant to § 55-248.5, and all provisions thereof shall apply to all jurisdictions in the Commonwealth and may not be waived or otherwise modified, in whole or in part, by the governing body of any locality, its boards and commissions or other instrumentalities, or by the courts of the Commonwealth.

    (2000, c. 760; 2001, c. 416.)
    I believe this chapter indicates the term "public housing" may refer to any housing agreement offered for occupancy by a landlord, as defined in the code, ot a tenant or authorized person, as defined, notwithstanding the failure to define "public housing".

    Continuing to research.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    @SouthernBoy: Rather than referring to a book somewhere, I'd prefer if we stick to the law. Or if you want to point to some other source, that should point back to the law (either legislation or case law) as a basis for its reasoning.

    In Virginia Code § 55-248.9.A, there's a list of seven prohibited provisions in rental agreements. #6, the one that deals with firearms, is the only one that refers to public housing. If this provision effective applies to all residential rental agreements, then why is the phrase "in public housing" there? It has to mean something.

    I've got no idea how to search for case law, so if there are any rulings that address this issue, I'm unaware of them but would love to read them. But just reading the phrase "in public housing" out of the law as if it weren't there doesn't make any sense.



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    I believe this is covered in the Virginia Gun Owners Guide. I can't find my copy; anyone have theirs handy?

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    allawd wrote:
    This apt is in Charlottesville, VA near the UVA campus but is not owned by the university and obviously not on campus.
    which apartments?
    Carry On.

    Ed

    VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
    - - - -
    For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    RedKnightt wrote:
    I believe this is covered in the Virginia Gun Owners Guide. I can't find my copy; anyone have theirs handy?
    Yes, page 27.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    As a Landlord I can prohibit anything as long as it complies with the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act.

    http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/Homeles...t_Handbook.pdf

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    TexasNative wrote:
    @SouthernBoy: Rather than referring to a book somewhere, I'd prefer if we stick to the law. Or if you want to point to some other source, that should point back to the law (either legislation or case law) as a basis for its reasoning.

    In Virginia Code § 55-248.9.A, there's a list of seven prohibited provisions in rental agreements. #6, the one that deals with firearms, is the only one that refers to public housing. If this provision effective applies to all residential rental agreements, then why is the phrase "in public housing" there? It has to mean something.

    I've got no idea how to search for case law, so if there are any rulings that address this issue, I'm unaware of them but would love to read them. But just reading the phrase "in public housing" out of the law as if it weren't there doesn't make any sense.

    It's not a "book somewhere". It's a guide generally considered as the "bible" for Virginia gun owners and available through the NRA and the VCDL, among other sources. I do understand your drive to identify the term "public housing" as that which is public in the context of a public or governmental building. But I am still pretty sure that such is not the case in the context of housing for rent to the general public in the state of Virginia.

    Also, I keep going back to this;

    "Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.
    A. A rental agreement shall not contain provisions that the tenant:
    1. Agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies under this chapter;"


    Perhaps one of us will turn up something definitive here soon.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    kenny wrote:
    As a Landlord I can prohibit anything as long as it complies with the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act.

    http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/Homeles...t_Handbook.pdf
    In reading this, it appears that firearms cannot be restricted since their ownership is a right and a contract to waive that right is not binding. Is that as you see it in the case of apartment rentals?

    This is all quite interesting because while I am not a renter, I am a homeowner, I do live in a development which has restrictive convenants. We know that our HOA cannot restrict our Second Amendment rights, though I have heard of some other places in the country where this has been attempted.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  25. #25
    State Researcher lockman's Avatar
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    Let me get this straight:

    1. In VA you have a RTBA provision.
    2. As a private landlord your can prohibit firearms.
    3. Private landlords cannot waive a constitutional right in a lease (RTBA excluded)?

    One of the above must yield.



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