Apartment Complex Tries to Force Tenants to Like Them on Facebook

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City Park Apartments, an apartment complex in Salt Lake City, Utah, has aroused the ire – and ridicule – of the interwebs by posting a lease addendum on each of their tenants’ doors last Thursday, advising their tenants to “like” City Park Apartments on Facebook, or face being in breach of contract. (Full text of the City Park Facebook Addendum below.)

Failure to friend or to remain friended shall be a breach of the residential rental agreement.

Moreover, the Facebook Addendum said that City Park could notify their tenants of legal notices on the Facebook page, but that, conversely, tenants could not serve legal notices on City Park via the City Park Facebook page. It also purported to give City Park full permission to post pictures of their tenants – and their tenants’ guests – on City Park’s Facebook page.

This whole thing came to light when one City Park tenant, Jason Ring, posted the Facebook Addendum on his own Facebook page, and it caught the attention of one of Ring’s friends, who happens to work KSL TV in Salt Lake City, and KSL decided to run it as a story.


 

The story quickly spread, and rather than “liking” the page, as demanded, City Park tenants and others did quite the opposite, lambasting and ridiculing them on the City Park Apartments Facebook page.

Two things should be noted about that Facebook page: 1) There is some question as to whether that page, which stated that it was the “unofficial page”, was actually created by City Park Apartments, and 2) the story broke on Tuesday, May 31st, and by Tuesday afternoon the page was taken down (which suggests to us that it probably was administered by the apartment complex), but not before it was cached by Google.

Google cache of the ‘unofficial’ City Park Apartments Facebook page
city park apartments facebook page


 

 

It’s pretty clear why they would want the page removed – the negative comments were piling up.

“Dear City Parks Apartments,” started one such comment, “a lease is a contract between two or more parties, unless the original lease has terms that allow you to modify the agreement in this manner then your tenants are under no obligation to fulfill your request. Your modifying the agreement may have already broken said contract. Basically your action is illegal. I am not a lawyer but I did play one on TV. Cheers! I would have given you less stars but there was no negative star option. I will add the option here … Negative 5 stars for being tossers.”

Another comment made clear how this move, and the ensuing negative publicity, may have hurt the complex: “Well was going to move here. But hearing all this negative reviews and forcing people to Facebook is really stupid. I bet you also have crazy fees for everything. The fact that you force people to “like” you on Facebook is straight hostile.”

And still another suggested that “Tenants should add clause that states they get paid when the Management company uses their likeness, etc..”

Now, clearly, somebody blew it. In fact, even their lawyer’s office explained, on Tuesday afternoon, in a conversation with CNet’s Chris Matyszczyk, that “As part of opening its pool and an anticipated pool party, City Park desired to provide some protection to its residents and its owners from usage of photos on its Facebook page from all community events, including the opening pool party. The “Facebook” addendum was provided to them to assist in that protection. That addendum went beyond the request and intent of City Park Apartments, and was not carefully reviewed to ensure that it met with their needs and requests. At no time was any resident in jeopardy of eviction or action from City Park for failure to sign the addendum or “friend” City Park Apartments. City Park has not implemented the addendum nor is it requiring its residents to execute it.”

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Apartment Complex Tries to Force Tenants to Like Them on Facebook

Moreover, just as we were putting this article to press, the tenants of City Park Apartments received an official retraction and apology from the complex.

Apology from City Park Apartment – Courtesy of Jason Ring
city park apartment apology retraction facebook addendum

 

So, here is what we at the Internet Patrol think happened. We think (and remember, this is just conjecture, but it makes sense) that someone at City Park said “we need something to cover our using photos on our Facebook page,” and tasked someone to come up with a document to cover that.

Then that somebody found the Facebook Addendum, which – guess what – has been used elsewhere, by another apartment complex. We don’t know whether that other apartment complex is affiliated with City Park or not, but we do know that the document was available to be found online as early as April 8th – because we found it here, and it’s clear that City Park got it from somewhere, and used it, verbatim and, as their own lawyer’s office points out, without it being “carefully reviewed to ensure that it met with their needs and requests.”

So, class, what is the lesson to be learned here?

Here is the full text of the so-called “Facebook Addendum”:

Facebook Addendum

This Addendum is entered into on the date below between the parties signed below. It is intended to be a part of the lease agreement between the parties for the leasing a residential rental unit.

Resident(s)__________________________________________print name

Community Facebook Page_____________________________________

1. Friend. Resident agrees to “friend” the community Facebook page as listed above and to maintain the community as a friend so long as the obligations under the residential rental agreement exist. Resident shall friend the community page within five days of execution of the residential rental agreement. Failure to friend or to remain friended shall be a breach of the residential rental agreement.

2. Communication. Resident agrees that the owner may communicate any and all required notices through Facebook. This includes amendments, changes, or additions to the Rules and Regulations. Such notices shall be deemed received by the resident on the date and time posted.

3. Pictures. Owner may publish and post pictures of Resident and any occupants on the community’s Facebook page and other social media. Resident does hereby grant authority to allow such posting for itself, all occupants, and any guests which it brings onto the premises.

4. Resident legal notices. Any legal notices which the tenant may be required to give to owner may NOT be delivered through the Facebook page. Additionally, any maintenance requests shall not be deemed received by management until actually received. Resident acknowledges that it is Resident’s responsibility to verify receipt of any communication with Owner. Legal notices to Resident shall also not be made through the Facebook page but delivered as required by law.

5. Indemnification. Resident hereby agrees to indemnify the Owner (its managers, employees, agents, and affiliates) and hold it harmless from any and all claims, causes of action, costs, expenses, liabilities, including, without limitation, attorney’s fees, judgments, court costs, which may be incurred or alleged by reason of any usage by Owner of the community Facebook. Resident shall not hold Owner or its management or agents liable for any usage of the community Facebook. Resident further agrees that it shall not post or cause to be posted any negative information relating to Owner, the community, management, or any employees on any Facebook page which is open and available to the public or on the Community page. Resident further agrees to not post on any public forum or page negative comments relating to the community.

date_______________________
Resident______________________ Owner_______________________________

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Apartment Complex Tries to Force Tenants to Like Them on Facebook

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1 Reply to “Apartment Complex Tries to Force Tenants to Like Them on Facebook”

  1. It might be reasonable for the apartment complex to use Facebook for notices such as, “Due to the July 4th holiday, garbage pickup will be on Friday instead of Thursday this week”. If I understand Facebook, the tenants would then have to “friend” the page to get those notices – and “friend” on Facebook only means that you’ve allowed such messages, not that you approve of the management in any way. E.g., it’s quite possible to use that link to post messages telling the management to FOAD and advising anyone looking for an apartment to avoid this complex.

    The only problem with that is that not everyone has a facebook account or wants one…

    But this goes way beyond that semi-reasonable requirement. #2 implies that they’ll use Facebook to serve legal notices as well as informational ones; I very much doubt that Facebook is a robust and reliable enough infrastructure for that purpose, as they recognize in #4. Finally, #3 and #5 are just plain exploitative.

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