CHICAGO (WBBM) — Two sisters say their landlord is being a Scrooge for taking down homemade Christmas decorations, but the property owner said he has warned the duo about displaying their crafts without permission in the past.
“It’s a very unusual Christmas for everyone,” said Lindsey Tortorello. “You know, money’s really tight nowadays.”
So Lindsey and her sister spent a few hours concocting homemade holiday decorations. “It was just something to create a little festivity in front of the house,” Lindsey said. They added garland and lights to the fence, too. The display was neither elaborate nor big.
“We weren’t the Griswolds,” they said.
The roommates even made sure wiring didn’t lead to anyone else’s unit. “It was our power. Our electricity,” they said.
About a week later down came down the display. “The next thing we know we look out the window, and he’s taking the decorations off the fence. He’s throwing into a big black bag,” said Lindsey.
Their unamused landlord returned the materials, but won’t allow it back up. A confused Lindsey showed CBS 2 her lease that prohibits the display of signs. “Nothing about Christmas decorations,” she said.
Unfortunately for the sisters, it sounds like their landlord is on solid legal ground. Fiddling with exterior or common area elements is not a renter’s right, according to WBBM-TV’s legal analyst. The property owner told WBBM-TV over the phone that the setup created a fire hazard. He sent pictures showing an unprotected plug. He also said the renters never asked permission to decorate.
“I would think a professional way to handle that would have been to tell us to take it down,” Tortorello said. At least it looks cozy inside the sisters’ residence this quarantine Christmas, and at least the sisters are in this together.
If you rent and want to spread some holiday cheer outside your apartment, ask the landlord’s permission first.