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Waterbeds and other "Rights"

While I was moving my waterbed into a new apartment, my landlord accosted me on the sidewalk and told me that water beds are prohibited by the lease. Please don't bother telling me I should have read my lease. This is America. Don't I have a right to use whatever kind of bed I want? My wife and I love our water bed!
-- Jonathan, Boston

We've all been there, sitting at some desk, staring down at several pages of small print, pretending we're graduates of a speed reading course and flying through the pages while nodding our heads in a thoughtful manner (to indicate to the person on the other side of the desk that we are reading and understanding every last word). Unfortunately, once you give that final nod and sign on the line, you're on the hook, without having any idea what the hook is.

Generally speaking, you are bound by the terms of your lease unless they require you to engage in illegal activity or prohibit you from doing something you are legally entitled to do. Unfortunately for you, there is no statutory or constitutional right to use a waterbed. Not yet, anyway. So your lease's prohibition is probably valid. Like it or not, landlords have reason to fear waterbeds: Leaks, and the surprising weight of so much water, can do serious damage.

I have sympathy for your plight (I'm very fond of my current pillow and have trouble sleeping on any others), but unless you can forge some type of amicable agreement with your landlord, you will either have to learn to sleep on a regular mattress or face eviction--and potential costs and damages--for violating the terms of your lease.

(Submitted by the Editor)

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