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Easter Bunny Tenant to Appear on Colbert?
Easter bunnyYou may remember our eviction story, Landlord Gives Easter Bunny the Boot.  When a tenant set up a display of Easter Bunny Peeps on her interior door, no one bothered her.  But, when she left it there for a couple weeks past Easter, the landlord became concerned that the sugary decorations would attract pests and posed a hazard to other tenants.
When they asked her to take it down, the tenant refused, claiming she had the support of her neighbors.  When the landlord took it down for her, she responded by refusing to pay her next month’s rent.  She has since moved out.

The notoriety of this case quickly thrust it to the national level, and the tenant’s lawyer reports that she is now receiving calls to appear on talk shows, including the mock religious-conservative comedy show, The Colbert Report.  Her lawyer reports that she is likely to accept the invitation.
The landlord has filed suit to evict the tenant and to recover the unpaid rent.  The tenant asked for a jury trial to present her case that she was driven from the premises over her Easter decorations.  The judge in the case denied a request that the trial be expedited given that the tenant has moved out, but at this juncture, is allowing the case to proceed to a jury trial.  It is unknown at this time whether the court will award attorneys fees to the prevailing party.
What do you think?  Will the landlord win the case?  Leave your comment below.
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  • Lola Webb

    I do not think this was an unreasonable request by the property manager and management company. The property manager is responsible for the well-being of all its residents, and she/he thought this would pose a threat to other tenants by attracting pests. Property managers have to think of the greater good for everyone,not just one apartment and/o resident. I am employed in the multihousing industry, not as a manager, but as Association Executive of our local affiliate of Apt. Assoc. of LA and National Apartment Association.

  • JIm

    I think that the landlord had a viable case for evicting the tenant for the refusal to remove the display, as the display was in the common area weather-affected hallway. The tenant, if verbage was contained in the lease documents, is not in control of a common area, and typically has no direct right to displays of any kind in those areas without express permission of the landlord. The landlord’s allowance of the display, whether verbally given or in not prohibiting it when done, should not negate his rights for requesting its timely removal.

  • Stephen

    What in the tenant’s lease (or state law/local ordinance) allowed withholding of rent over a dispute w/the landlord? Whether the landlord was justified or not (and I think the landlord was justified) in removing the display, the lawsuit is over whether the tenant owed rent for the month.

    The tenant was ticked off at the landlord – so what? I periodically get ticked off with the tenants, but if there is nothing in the lease or state regulations backing me up I’m just ticked off and nothing happens.

  • Joanna

    I hope she appears on TV and every landlord will keep track of her name and pass it along to other landlords… She sounds like she thinks she owns the property. Let her buy her own.

  • Regardless of the disagreement between landlord/tenant, if the tenant did not put her rent on escrow and instead refused to pay rent, then the landlord has every right to evict and should always win.

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  • John

    First of all nobody mentioned that the tenant “nailed” the Peep to the door (not her property.)
    Any holiday decoration, if allowed by the landlord, should be removed within a reasonable time after the holiday.
    Refusing to pay rent is another breech of the lease.
    I would rule for the landlord for rent & expenses and dismiss her suit as frivolous.

  • Michelle Tidmore

    Exactly the opposite, John, one, is the landlord just a manager or an owner, two, nailing something to the door? or was this a piece of a bigger decoration?
    What do you connect your christmas wreath to? I suppose she could have left her peeps in a basket on the ground but that WOULD attract vermin, sugar does not just ROT. It does crystallize, and it does cause other food to harden into rocks,, like week old doughnuts, it does not attract mosquitos, nor does it attract flies, except under certain conditions, Im not so sure about cockroaches, but when was the last time you saw cockroaches five feet up on the outside of your front door? Do you see bugs on xmas decorations hung outside? Hm I cannot recall EVER seeing a candycane being smitten by uninvited vermin, well not unless it was covered in someones nasty saliva, and then the flies just use them like fly paper, they get stuck to moist sugar, or melting sugar. Or perhaps its like my first answers I left to the first part of this subjected article… Was this really NAILED or was a thumbtack used?

    No matter, if the woman paid her rent, the landlord has no right to mess with her anything, whether it be a religious statement or a decoration, it was still the property of the tenant, and he cannot dispose of her property without going through the proper channels to do so.

    If you left your certificate stating you were the citizen of the year on your door, and someone, *your landlord, ripped it off and ripped it up, do you think your legal rights would be any different?

    Property is property, whether you consider it trash or not, it does not belong to you, while your rent is paid, YOU are “owner” of that residence, until you violate the law, municipal code, or the terms of the lease.

    while they are saying that this case is over whether refusing to remove a decoration on the door gives the landlord the right to evict or not, there are laws that do insure the rights of the tenant as well.

    If the courts award to the landlord, the tenant would certainly have the right to file civil charges, no matter the cause of action claimed as being whether refusing to remove a decoration on the door gives the landlord the right to evict or not, the reason the item was there must also be considered. Constitutional law protects this in many ways, and it appears it could fall under several statutes. The question is whether or not the tenant first placed it as a decoration as a statement regarding a religious practice or recognition or religious belief, and whether or not the landlord requested it be removed for any other reason than ditzing her choice of religious practice, and if it can be proven that the decoration did any permenant damage or even temporary damage to the property the landlord was managing.

    While freedom of expression and freedom of/from religion are a part of EVERYONES constitutional rights, so are the rights to live peaceably in ones own home/rental, without harassment, or unnecessary dischord.

    When the law applys to only some of the people some of the time, it works for none of the people none of the time.

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