On March 21, 2022, Governor Eric Holcomb passes Constitutional Carry law for the state of Indiana. This will allow any Indiana resident over 18-years-old who qualifies to carry a handgun on their person without a permit to do so.
We are witnessing a peculiar convergence of fundamental Rights protected by the US Constitution: The convergence of 2nd Amendment Rights with real property rights of both Landlords and Tenants. This is not a new issues. In fact, In 2015 a Maine landlord asked a judge to dismiss a tenants run rights lawsuit over the rights of tenants to have firearms in and on leased property. Basically, this was the situation: A citizen of Maine rents a property from a private Landlord. The Tenant purchases a gun for personal protection in his rental property. He shoots an intruder. The Landlord threatens eviction under the auspices the Tenant violated the Landlord’s “house rules” of “no guns” allowed in the rental property. The Tenant claims his 2nd Amendment Right is being unlawfully infringed upon by the Landlord.
Who’s right here?
The Landlord and the Tenant have made promises to each other via the Lease Agreement. The Landlord, by virtue of leasing the property, transferred to the Tenant his real property rights of Occupancy & Use and the right of Quiet Enjoyment. The Tenant, in return for these real property rights, promised to abide by the terms of the lease agreement. Now, we don’t know the terms of this specific lease nor the Landlord’s “house rules” so we certainly can’t dive into the nuts and bolts of this situation and play armchair lawyer here.
However, what is of paramount importance is this: You own rental property or want to own rental property. You are a law-abiding citizen and hold fundamental belief in the US Constitution and the great experiment of Freedom it provides individuals. Will you allow your Tenants to have guns in your rental property or not?
If you are in doubt, we advise you to seek legal advice from you attorney. If a tenant agrees in a lease to not have a firearm, and then do have one in their possession, are they breaking the law, or just the terms of the lease? How will you enforce the rule – eviction or just an explanation of the house rules.
These are all items to think about BEFORE you need them. So, read your contract and look to see if there is boilerplate language that is contradictory, illegal or just poorly worded. And talk to your attorney to ensure that you are in compliance with current laws.
Smart Landlords will be proactive before a situation arises by reviewing their lease templates, consulting with their legal counsel, and weighing the pros and cons of a decision.
Not so smart Landlords will be re-active to this question only after a situation arises.
Something to consider….
Dan Baldini is the Founder of Polaris Real Estate & Polaris Property Management, LLC and has been an Adjunct Professor in the College of Business Finance Department at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he taught Real Estate Investing.
Dan focuses his practice on the residential real estate markets including Indianapolis, Carmel, Zionsville, Fishers and other surrounding areas. Dan continually seeks out new resources for Team training and education in order to keep all the Team members skills on the leading edge of real estate best practices. He is an active real estate investor himself, owning and managing a portfolio of investment properties in the Indianapolis markets.
A resident of the Northside area since 1979, Dan has extensive intimate knowledge and experience of the market forces that dominate the Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers, and Indianapolis real estate markets. He has been active in real estate since 1996 with a specific focus on North side properties. Dan is an active networker in his local communities as well as with top agents nationwide.