Tenants of the City Park Apartments in Salt Lake City, Utah, received a rude surprise when they found a new “lease addendum” taped to their doors last week. The new contract required tenants to like the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days or be found in breach of their rental agreement.
What’s worse, the addendum also included a release that would allow the apartment complex to post pictures of tenants and their guests to its Facebook page. The contract also forbid tenants from leaving negative reviews online.
“I don’t want to be forced to be someone’s friend and be threatened to break my lease because of that,” tenant Jason Ring said. “It’s outrageous as far as I’m concerned… It’s a violation of my privacy.”
Of course, the apartment’s Facebook page and Yelp page have been deluged with negative reviews, and both are currently unavailable. It was a huge mistake by this business to think it could control what people do in their private lives online — not to mention the fact that it may be illegal. Many tenants were already locked into their leases, and any change to that would need to be approved in a court. The sudden social media requirement could also be found discriminatory.
“The biggest issue that I have with it is that it seems to be discriminatory against elderly individuals and disabled individuals who are unable to utilize an online presence such as Facebook,” tenant rights attorney Zachary Myers said.
This was likely all the result of a misinformed landlord trying to sneak something by the apartment’s tenants. It’s a good thing the story went public; hopefully that will prevent unfair (and privacy-invading) practices like this from happening in the future.