Life in an apartment complex comes with the loss of certain freedoms.  However, landlords have a bad habit of trying to take too many freedoms from you.   Some of them think that they are the parents of your children, and that they can tell your kids to stop playing outside. Maybe you live in a homeowner’s association that has a bad habit of issuing rules that prohibit children from playing outside.  Gotta keep the association looking pretty.  Don’t want any loud, noisy kids disrupting it for the rest of us.  What can you do when your landlord is a bully?  It’s easy to feel helpless, but this article is written to help you get past that horrible feeling.

When a tenant first learns from a landlord that their kids cannot play outside, the response is usually something like, “Are you kidding?”  It’s a cold slap in the face when you learn that your landlord is serious, and does not want your kids playing outside.  This response usually causes fear and anger, and rightfully so.  This is nothing short of bullying.   Parents usually have mixed emotions: You want to let your children play outside, but are worried about getting evicted or having your rent raised if you disobey.  Can a landlord do this?  Can you stop him?

Fortunately, there is a happy ending to your dilemma.  Decades of federal law is on your side.  Your landlord or your homeowner’s association cannot use phony excuses for preventing your children from playing outside.  Your kids have the legal right to go outside and play.  This is true even if other tenants don’t like the noise, or claim that they work at night and need silence in the day to sleep.  That’s why they invented ear plugs.  Your kids have the right to laugh, giggle, and make noise while playing outside.  That’s what being a kid is all about.  Putting the iPad or cell phone down, and going outside to explore the world to play, is what kids are allowed to do.

These are peculiar days that we live in.  Landlords are becoming communistic.  Kids are no longer wanted.  They are just a nuisance that disturb everybody in the apartment complex with all of the noise that they make when they play.  Playing normal kids’ games is suddenly an intolerable act.   Landlords are doing everything to stop children from playing outside.  They’ll claim that kids might get hurt, and that they don’t want to get sued if kids get hurt.  That’s a phony excuse that has been rejected by federal courts. Or, the landlord will claim that kids will ruin the grass, or break plants.  Yet again, a weak excuse which does not hold water.  In other situations, landlords will declare that the covenant of quiet enjoyment requires them to keep the complex quiet, so that other tenants can sleep or enjoy themselves during the daytime.  This is an incorrect understanding of the law: children have the right to make noise while playing, even if other tenants prefer quiet.

Finally, there is the proverbial “park down the street” that your landlord would prefer your kids to play at.   You know, the park that has dangerous characters lurking in it.  The park that is about a mile or two away.  The same park that is so easy to drop everything, and take your kid to every single day.  Right.  The simple fact of the matter is that you pay rent, and are allowed to let your children play in the common areas of your apartment complex, even if the landlord would prefer that you take them to the park to play.   But won’t your landlord evict you if you disobey?  He can try, but he’ll fail.  No judge is going to evict a family who stands up for the right of their children to play outside at their apartment complex.

The good thing about these laws is that they protect all families, not just American families.  If you have to go to court to stand up for your rights, nobody questions your citizenship.  It is not an issue in a housing discrimination case.

Summer is here.  Don’t let your landlord ruin another summer for your kids.  You now know that you are equipped to refuse to obey the landlord’s illegal demands.   Be strong and be brave.  Take your children outside to play every single day this summer, as it’s illegal for your landlord to refuse to let your children play outside at your apartment complex.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us at (800) 572-8365 or email us at