Facebook Flap Shows Why Landlords Need To Understand How Social Media Works

A new lease agreement taped to tenants' doors by landlords in a Salt Lake City apartment complex requires the tenants to like the complex on its Facebook page within five days or be found in breach of lease, according to KSL.com.

Tenants of the City Park Apartments told KSL that a “Facebook addendum” showed up taped to their doors last week. The contract requires tenants to friend the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, or be found in breach of the rental agreement, though some of the tenants already signed a lease agreement months ago.

The document also includes a release allowing the apartment to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the page.

Landlords' Actions Outrage Tenants

Landlords require Facebook likes by tenants in Salt Lake City apartment complex

Photo from KSL.com video here.

 

“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 told KSL in an interview. “It’s outrageous as far as I’m concerned.”

The Verge reported that forcibly dictating social media etiquette of customers tends to backfire. City Park Apartments in Salt Lake City, Utah finds itself crushed under a flood of vindictive online retribution for demanding its tenants "friend" the company's unofficial Facebook page within five days. Clearly, the landlord was unfamiliar with the more recent term, "Like," and chose the antiquated "friend" instead. Anyone who does not comply could be found in breach of contract, according to a letter found on tenants' doors last week.

Another unsettling quirk: you had to let City Park Apartments post photos of you and your guests on its page, and you were not allowed to leave negative reviews on any public forum. The company's Facebook page is already "unavailable" after a torrent of negative reviews. It turns out local TV news station KSL picked the story up, and it floated its way to the AP and then every other website on the internet. And City Park Apartments' Yelp profile is "under active cleanup," which is Yelp's euphemism for "your business is currently being ground into a fine dust by unstoppable tank of internet outrage," according to The Verge.

Zachary Myers, an attorney who specializes in tenant rights for Hepworth, Murray & Associates in Bountiful told KSL.com, said the contract addendum may not be fair to those who don't have or are unable to create Facebook accounts.

“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,” he said.

Myers said that if a lease is already signed, a tenant may not be required by law to sign a late add-on.

He added that if something like an add-on appears and a tenant is not comfortable with it, the tenant should not sign it because once signed, the tenant is bound to the contract unless a court says otherwise.

KSL.com

The Verge.com

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