Tenant says the landlord threatened eviction over political yard signs

Posted at 12:07 PM, Sep 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-15 14:07:49-04

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    LYNDON, Illinois (WQAD) — A woman living in Lyndon said her landlord took down her political sign and replaced it with his own.

Melissa Denning had a sign up in the yard, supporting Kris Schmidt for sheriff.

“Instead of coming and talking to me about the sign, [my landlord] knocked the sign down and ran it over,” Denning said.

Denning said the landlord, John Crady, told her she should vote for all Democrats. Denning decided to put up a smaller “Kris Schmidt for sheriff” sign in the window of her house.

But she said the landlord stopped by Thursday night and said that sign had to come down, too.

“I should be able to hang the sign in my house because I do not support Booker,” Denning said. “I don’t want Booker for sheriff.”

That’s when Crady took his own political stance.

“Next thing I know, there’s a Booker sign in my yard. I’m not a Booker fan,” Denning said.

Denning said the campaign team for Schmidt stopped by to pick up the run-over sign and the posts the Booker sign was hanging on. Denning said the campaign workers thought the posts belonged to them.

Crady stopped by again, saying the posts belonged to him and demanding they be returned so he could rehang his sign. Denning said that’s when he told her to find somewhere else to live.

“Why couldn’t I keep Kris Schmidt in the yard, and he could put a Booker sign in the yard?” Denning said. “But no. I can’t have any First Amendment rights. I can’t have nothing.”

Crady told News 8 he doesn’t intend to kick Denning out of the house, but wants the back and forth with the signs to stop. He said he doesn’t want any signs for Republican candidates on his property and had the Booker campaign team put up his sign.

Attorney Michael Galvin said these situations are “a pretty settled part of the law.” He said typically renters have the right to put up political signs in the yard or house and landlords can’t put up their own signs. He said the only exception is when the lease includes rules for political signs.

“That’s how I interpreted it,” Denning said. “When you rent someplace, you rent the whole property.”

Denning said she’s looking into what her renter’s rights exactly are. She said she’s going to bring this matter up with her lawyer but won’t necessarily pursue any legal action.

“I’m going to put [the sign] in my car because they never said I can’t have it in my car,” Denning said.

For now, she’s going to support her candidate however she can.

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