The ideal relationship between landlords and tenants is pretty uneventful. Neither party is unhappy, they both comply with the terms of their lease agreement and if an issue does arise, it is addressed and handled quickly and fairly.
Unfortunately, many tenant/landlord relationships are far from ideal. In fact, they can be a source of great anxiety and frustration when the two parties butt heads over something like a contract dispute. This can lead to complicated legal claims and some other unexpected (and costly) repercussions. One landlord is likely learning this lesson the hard way after a failed attempt to make tenants ‘like’ it on Facebook.
Reports indicate that the landlord of an apartment complex in another state notified tenants that they would need to “like” the complex’s page on Facebook in an addendum to their lease.
Tenants were outraged and fearful that failure to “like” the complex would lead to eviction or fines. They and others took to the Internet to express their disapproval of the landlord’s actions. Instead of receiving the solicited “likes,” the apartment started receiving huge amounts of negative feedback, angry comments and very low reviews on sites like Yelp.
The addendum, which has since been withdrawn, was evidently an attempt by the landlord to control the use of photos by tenants at an apartment-sponsored event. An attorney for the apartment has stated that it was “not carefully reviewed” prior to release.
This story quickly made international headlines, thanks to the widespread and almost immediate negative response to the attempt at controlling tenant behavior online.
This case also has an impact right here in North Carolina. It serves as a very real reminder to our readers of how quickly a legal dispute between tenants and landlords can spiral out of control. It can also send a powerful message to landlords that legal support and guidance can be essential when drafting or revising any aspect of a lease agreement.