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philip.simmons, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 34720
Experience:  10 years experience in the law
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Can an apartment management company force me to sign a photo

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Can an apartment management company force me to sign a photo release form as part of my lease agreement?
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.
Can they?
Sure. Nothing illegal about that. At the same time, you are not obliged to agree to this. You can refuse to agree to this provision of the contract and, if they will not remove it, you can refuse to lease with them.
But there is no law that would make this illegal. It is just one of may parts of a lease contract.
Unusual? Yes. But not a violation of any law.
I am very sorry to have to bear bad news.
Please let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the quick response. I have rented at the property for 7 years and this issue arose with the most recent lease renewal (to go into effect Nov, 2013). I have never been required to do this before and in fact have never even heard of it as a requirement. Just to be clear, the landlord CAN refuse to honor the lease renewal if I refuse to sign the photo/likeness release even though there is no established precedent for such a requirement in the past? Would there be anything in the GA Annotated regarding a right to privacy or Right of Publicity that would preclude or supersede the requirement in general?

What is the basis for this? Do you know? Why do they want this from the tenants?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The property changed from an internal management team (employees of the property owners) to an external management company 4 months ago. I suspect that this may be part of the new management company's standard CYA paperwork in case they decide to take candid shots around the property and publish in either printed or digital media. I simply do not want my picture floating around on Facebook or other like digital media.

Thank you
And I suspect you are correct. That is, I suspect that this company wants to be able to use pictures from its properties to advertise. And with no waiver? They would have to negotiate individually with tenants.
I understand your do not want to waive this should you have to
The problem you have is that you have no "right" to live at the property, absent a lease agreement.
This new company could, for example, simply refuse to renew your lease, for almost any reason. They can not refuse to renew for a "bad" reason. A bad reason would be if they refused to renew based on a protected status like your race/religion/national origin/gender or any other protected status.
But what you describe? Your privacy right with respect to your image? That is not a protected status in the same way your gender or national origin.
It is a right you can waive if you so choose...and one that the property manager can demand you waive in consideration for renewal of the lease
So to answer your question
the landlord CAN refuse to honor the lease renewal if I refuse to sign the photo/likeness release even though there is no established precedent for such a requirement in the past?
That is correct.
This is, in essence, a contract law question.
You have a right to your likeness. You can reuse to allow a company to profit from your image. No question.
And the management company as a right to rent to whomever they choose, and deny whomever they choose, so long as they do not violate state or federal law.
So they can place such a requirement. There is a logical reason for the rule (it allows them to advertise their property without the need to secure individual waivers) and it does not violate any state or federal statute.
It may not make good business sense if it drives away customers. But it is not illegal.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok thanks for the clarification. I am not an attorney, but I think there is something wrong where an entity can require someone to waive a state and federal constitutional right to privacy (Pavesich v. New England Life Insurance - GA 1905 and Griswold SCOTUS 1965) to engage in a contractual relationship where such abeyance is not a fundamental requirement to the terms of such a contract. Guess it is time to write my state legislators and get a new law on the books.

sir...that is the way to proceed...if there was a law prohibiting this, then it would be illegal
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