Look, I get it. These establishments want their apartment complexes to look nice, and they don't want all of their tenants to be caught in the middle of political disputes and bickering. Some flags that could be flown over apartment balconies could be seen as very offensive. But why not at least allow the American flag to be flown?

I got a note from a friend in Billings whose niece was ordered to remove an American flag that she had draped from her apartment balcony.

"My niece lives in the Country Meadows Apartments in Billings. She got an email the other day saying that she had been 'reported' for the American flag she had on her balcony, because it goes against their flag policy."
Here's the message her niece Kim received from her apartment complex:
Screenshot of email from Kim in Billings
Screenshot of email from Kim in Billings
My friend added this: "She did break the rule by displaying the American flag beyond Memorial Day, but our question is why would you lump the American flag in with all sorts of other flags you could ban? Seems interesting that the display of the American flag is deemed inappropriate, since it is our country's flag and symbol of freedom. Businesses can set their own policies, of course, but it was interesting to us that the American flag doesn't garner an exception to their flag policy. The American flag should not be controversial."
I reached out to the Country Meadow apartments through their website and did not get a response. I also called their office. They encouraged me to contact their corporate office, Center Space. I left a message with the corporate contact to see if they would like to provide a response.
I understand this has become a common practice with apartment complexes across the country. The American Apartment Owners Association says, "The 4th of July strikes a patriotic chord for all Americans. But, unfortunately, this time of year can also spark disputes between landlords and tenants over the right to display flags."
The AAOA added this: "The federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act, signed back in 2006, was an attempt to clarify the rules. The Act prohibits condo associations from banning flag poles and other flag displays in private residences. However, that law does not cover renters."
I agree with my friend and her niece: the American flag should be THE exception.
What's your take? Send us a message on the app or e-mail aaron (at) montanatalks.com 

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