How a Concealed Carry Permit COULD Affect Your Apartment Search!
Phew, it feels good to sit down! The past three weeks have been a whirlwind, making my move from one city to another happen. For those who don’t know, I just relocated from my hometown to Columbus, Ohio and it feels great to finally be sitting here in my new apartment, writing to you!
Even though I’m delighted with where I’m living, the apartment search didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected. I’m sharing my experience with the goal of increasing awareness. The topic? If you’re planning to rent an apartment anytime soon, it might be good to be prepared for what could show up on the lease.
In a nutshell, here’s my story.
I had three months to find and move into an apartment, before my lease ended.
During the first and second month I looked for apartments online, compared rent prices and tried to get a feel for the different areas of the city. I visited several locations and finally found what I thought was the right place for me. My goal was to move in to the new apartment one week prior to my lease ending, so I’d have plenty of time to move my belongings without feeling rushed.
After applying and getting approved for the place, I finally got to review the lease. (Here’s where my concealed carry permit comes into play.)
The last page of the lease included an addendum, which outlined their concealed handgun policy. It stated, “Ohio law prevents Landlords from prohibiting or restricting a tenant who holds a valid license to carry a concealed handgun from lawfully carrying or possessing such concealed handgun on the Residential Premises.” It also specified that the tenant shall do all of the following upon execution of the lease:
1. Provide a copy of the tenant’s valid license to carry the concealed handgun.
2. Provide the property’s management office with a copy of the weapon’s registration paperwork, if any.
Now, the State of Ohio does not require you to register your hand gun(s), but there was also a third point stipulated in the lease, which any tenant is required to adhere to:
3. Provide the property’s management office with a photograph of the tenant’s handgun(s), along with the make, model and serial number.
I’m assuming the apartment complex’s landlord can legally ask for this information (although I haven’t checked with a lawyer), but… SHOULD he or she? Does this third point protect the landlord in some way, or does it end up discouraging responsible permit holders from choosing this particular apartment complex? Why would they need to know the serial number of my firearm?
My lease was ending in two weeks and I needed to find a place quickly, but I just didn’t feel at peace with their contractual requirements. In a state that does not require us to register our firearms, this felt like a privacy issue and a bit invasive. I wondered, How many people fall out of the application process at this point?
I told the woman I’d been communicating with (we’ll call her Sandra) that I’d have to pass on the opportunity. When I explained the reason, she told me the addendum was new and asked me to hold off on a decision until she spoke with her boss. Later, they let me know I did NOT have to provide documentation, but I would still need to sign the addendum.
I mean, it was nice they tried to work with me, but I couldn’t sign a legally binding document saying I would do something and then not do it. I thanked her but declined and restarted my search.
About three days later, I received a call from the owner of the property (I’ll call him George). Apparently, George had hired Sandra’s company to manage his real-estate and when he learned the reason I wasn’t moving forward, he began looking into other circumstances, as well. On the phone with me, George hinted others had fallen out of the process for the same reason.
Somewhat surprisingly, George continued to say both he and his partner have concealed carry permits and didn’t consider it an issue. The addendum belonged to the third party. It must not have been a business practice with which he wanted to be involved, because he fired the property management agency and said I’m welcome, if I still wanted to live there.
Wow. That was certainly unexpected.
By that time, I had already started the application process for another location, but I thanked him for calling and the sentiments he’d shared with me. A week later, I moved into a different apartment that ended up being a much better fit for me.
You know, even though the experience was somewhat stressful, I’m actually glad I went through it, because in being true to my sense of “what’s right” for me, the owner of the complex became aware of a policy he didn’t want.
Bottom line? It’s okay to disagree, and it really could have gone either way. In this case, however, being open about my perspective on concealed carry proved beneficial.
What might you do if you were faced with a restrictive concealed carry-related policy when attempting to rent an apartment somewhere?
Those of you who live in other states, what kind of handgun policies have you seen on a lease?