General Question

GanjaGrabber's avatar

Is it legal to defame an apartment complex?

Asked by GanjaGrabber (1points) June 15th, 2009

Kind of a random question, but is it legal to defame the name of an apartment complex?

In front (or right next to) their “Renew Today” signs I want to put signs of my own. These signs will say things like
“Don’t RENEW for $600. They will drop the rates right after and screw you TOO”
“Don’t get screwed”
“Horrible place to live”
“Charge unreasonable fees for no reason”
“Don’t let them LOCK you in”
“I bet they didn’t tell you about the horrible crime rate, did they?”
“Never fix anything”
“Read the WHOLE lease, expecially page 7”
“Charge overages for no reason”
“Read what others have to say:"

Just poster board, hell I get it for free. I plan to keep these signs up over theirs for the duration of there “renew now” campaign.

Personally if I saw an apartment complex where a resident got so POed to where he posted signs, I don’t think I would want to live there.

Is this considered defimation of character? What if the statements are true? What if they are false? Can I be sued and\or jailed or is it free speech?

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13 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I highly recommend you don’t do this.

There’s little to be gained and much more for you to lose.
It’s far better to just move on and learn from the experience.

kheredia's avatar

As long as they don’t know who’s doing it.. I would do it too!!

juwhite1's avatar

To the last part of your question, being able to prove the truth, or even the belief that what you stated could be true, is defense to slander and libel (and this would be libel, a more serious offense than slander, if anything you wrote were untrue). While this may not be defamation of character (or it may be… I don’t have all the facts), it is still unwise to do. Messing with other people’s property is incredibly stupid. In this case, not only are you impeding a person from using their own property, which is a criminal offense, you would be interfering with a business’ ability to do carry out their business, and I’m sure they will sue you for it, if you don’t have local codes that allow them to have you arrested for criminal offenses.

Steven0512's avatar

I would at least spell “liers” correctly, then throw away the poster before you get yourself sued. Write a review online…

casheroo's avatar

I gave an apartment complex a nasty review at I think people should be very cautious when renting from a complex. I would never, ever live in another one.

Supacase's avatar

I wouldn’t post it on their property. I think it is different to tell your own negative experience than to generalize about the way they do business.

Judi's avatar

You can’t put the signs up in their lawn but you can carry signs in protest. (This is still America and you have a right to peaceably assemble in public areas.)

btko's avatar

Call the Better Business Bureau and or City Hall if you have complaints about a company.

tinyfaery's avatar

If this was illegal then how do review sites like Yelp operate? Post it anonymously, if it makes you feel better.

YARNLADY's avatar

@tinyfaery Sites like that exist because of the anonymity, and no one has had the time or money to take them to court, but not because it’s not illegal. If stealing and murder are illegal, then how come they still happen?

To answer the question, @Judi is correct, you can picket in person, but not post illegal signs. The Better Business Bureau is good, and try the rental owners association in your area to lodge a legal complaint.

dynamicduo's avatar

You do have certain rights, but these depend a lot on the situation, whether you are telling truths or lies, whether it’s public or private property, etc. Before making any actions it would be wise to talk with a lawyer to determine what your legal limits are here. If you don’t consult with a lawyer now, you’ll be consulting with one later on when the apartment company sues you (hint, they have more money than you do, they have access to stronger lawyers than you likely do), so I really do recommend you talk to one before taking action.

cak's avatar


You may want to pick a different word to use, beside defame.

@dynamicduo is right. If you have some kind of issue with a complex, consult an attorney before you do anything.

There are so many legal and more effective ways to handle things, this just seems a bit juvenile to me. I realize that things can go very wrong with contracts, but you never want to be the one that has stooped to the lowest level, in a dispute. It will never work out to your liking, if you are that person. Do it the right way, not this way.

Judi's avatar

Personally, I don’t think we Americans exercise our right to protest enough. When I was in the Vagina Monologues we did a protest against rape and people threatened to call the police. It showed their ignorance about some basic rights that our forefathers bled and died for.
I am inspired by the people if Iran, the cradle of civilization, standing up and protesting corruption in their election. Protest is healthy and good and should not be shunned in a free society.
Protest poor treatment in your apartment community. It is your right as an American and it is a way to have a voice when you feel helpless.
Exercise your rights or they will atrophy.

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