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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116709
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I have a church in my apartment where I have lived

Customer Question

I have a church in my apartment where I have lived for almost 10 years. The previous owner didn't care. The new owner is using the church as an excuse to serve me a 'quit' notice (the notice does not list the reason to leave. The manager had made a remark about the church not being allowed, to me, a few weeks before the notice.) and I am due to be out of the apartment by the end of the month. The church is in good standing with the State of Colorado and registered. I am a licensed minister. The church is only 4 people. There has never been a complaint about the people, parking or noise of any kind. The main thrust of the church is serving in nursing homes, out on the streets and feeding the hungry in motels and on the street. The address of the church is also listed as my primary business address. Are my First Amendment rights being denied?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Whether or not you can maintain any business, including a church in your apartment, is based on what it says in your lease. If your lease does not mention any prohibition against a business, then your new landlord cannot evict you, as it would be considered a breach of your lease to do so. If they try to evict you and there is no clause in the lease to do so, you would file an answer to the eviction and countersuit for breach of lease and illegal eviction (it is not a First Amendment violation because the government is not infringing on your rights).
If your lease does contain a prohibition and the landlord has never enforced it knowing the church existed, then you have grounds to argue that based on the amount of time you were operating that provision of the lease was waived and also the equitable doctrine of estoppel and laches applies because it was not enforced for so long to try to enforce it now would cause you extreme prejudice.