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Catharine Pierce is an avid gardener.  But unlike many others, she prefers to garden in the nude.  Well, actually not entirely nude:  she wears a yellow thong, and pink gloves.
The housing authority where she lives threatened to evict her and her husband over the barrage of complaints it received last summer from the neighbors, including mothers who fear that local teenage boys have become far too preoccupied with gardening.
But evicting disruptive tenants proved to be harder than it looked.  Despite the complaints, even calls to the police, turns out being nude is not a crime in this Colorado mountain town.
After months of negotiations with the couple failed to resolve the complaints or halt the frequent visits by law enforcement, the landlord’s only hope was for the city council to beef up its nudity rulings.  The council was torn. Isn’t it discriminatory to allow men to take off their shirts in public, but not women?
By a 6-3 vote, the council confirmed that Ms. Pierce has the right to go topless in public.
The police have signaled they will stop answering complaints over at the nude gardeners’ house.
The landlord has no choice but to concede it has no legal grounds to evict the couple.
Spring has arrived and the Pierces are busy at work in the garden, while parents are hovering over their children at the nearby school, motorists are slowing down on that stretch of the road, and somewhere a mother is harping on her young son to keep the window shades down in his room.
And that’s the way it’s going to be for awhile to come.
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  • While there is no cause to evict for a short term solution. There is no legal requirement for the landlord to renew a lease. The landlord may have to put up with complaints for one season but certainly not two.

  • John

    I need my garden worked on, will they travel.

  • brassservices

    What does the landlord care? If the next door neighbor is against cars, takes the bus everywhere, but the rentors drive a car, why should the landlord care what the next door neighbor thinks? Really. This is functionally the equivalent thereof.

    Doing something legal is certainly not the basis for termination by the other party of a contract whose provisions are being executed in good faith. Capricious and arbitrary, would be more like it. It creates a discrimination lawsuit to do otherwise.

    Their actions are outside the control or authority ceded by either party in a rental contract. The landlord has no Right and no authorization to control the private behavior of individuals doing within their homes the things that they would normally do. If it is illegal, then it is the job of law enforcement to address the issue first and foremost.

    If you are a landlord, do not attempt to regulate private behavior, or you will open yourself up to a world of civil liability and hurt. Unless you can make money off of a book deal, it’s not worth it.

  • Robert

    The way I see it, the disruption is really caused by ignorant moms trying to overprotect their teenage children. I have never heard of a teenager being harmed in any way by nudity. Actually, being clothed is our unnatural state. We were all born naked and naturism is well, the normal way.
    While I’ve heard of prudes being offended by nature, I wonder what those moms would do when seeing naked cows or horses. Would they complain about them too?
    If I’d be that landlord, I would rather evict the complainers, not the naturalist gardener.

  • Chris

    How about the landlord capitalizing on this by installing webcams in the garden and setting up an Internet site for an additional income stream?

  • Kimberly

    Chris has a good idea. However, I would be out there with a cam-corder saying things like “work it girl” and giving her cellulite advice. She has no expectation of privacy. Give her the full net-lebrity status. A little mocking might go a long way. A group of the neighbors out there asking her if she’s gained weight and laughing might help too.

    As a mother I teach my daughters and son about modesty. If that female lived on my block, you can just bet I would be doing a few things like the above to help her respect the rights of others. If she were doing this in her backyard where there is a modicum of privacy, that would be one thing. This is lewdness and public exposure and should be treated as such.

  • Gwen

    Speaking of disruptive tenants….can you evict for loud and abusive behavior…disturbing other tenants.

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