Provo man frustrated that his landlord won’t let him fly the Ukrainian flag on the terrace of his apartment

PROVO, Utah — The war in Ukraine is stirring the Utahns in a powerful way. Almost daily we see events, campaigns and other efforts in the hive state for the people of Ukraine. A Provo resident is one of those Utahns who wants to show his support. But when his landlord refused to allow him to display the Ukrainian flag on his patio, he contacted KSL investigators.

At Colonial Flag in Sandy, they cut and sew blue and yellow fabrics as fast as they can to fulfill orders for Ukrainian flags.

“Usually we do five to 10 a year and in the last two weeks we’ve done over 400,” Devaughn Simper said.

Not only does he participate in the making of the flag, but the vexillologist also studies them.

“The (blue) represents peace and serenity and the blue sky over Ukraine,” Simper explained, “and the yellow represents their power and strength and the wheat fields of the heartland of the country.”

Simper says the only other time he’s seen this kind of surge in demand for a nation’s flag was 9/11.

“Most people want to do something to support the effort in Ukraine in some way to show their solidarity with the people there,” he said.

One of those people is Owen Barrott from Provo. He hung a Ukrainian flag on the terrace of his apartment.

“It touches your heart,” he said, “because you see these destroyed buildings like rolling tanks and dropping bombs. But at the same time people are basically standing up against what is one of the world’s superpowers and are ready to stand up and fight for their right, it really gets to you.

But within two days of raising his flag, Barrott said building management told him to remove it. Of course, they feel for the Ukrainian people, they said, but if the flag wasn’t gone in three days, it would have to go.

Owen Barrott wants to display the Ukrainian flag on the balcony of his apartment as a show of support for the Ukrainian people, but he says his landlord refuses to allow it.

“We will serve you a notice to leave the property to vacate the property, which really surprised me,” Barrott said. “It’s like, okay, are you ready to go so hard on a Ukrainian flag?”

Can property managers do this?

Barrott’s lease of Redstone Residential is clear: “No signs, banners or flags to hang from balconies,” it reads. Utah state law only protects the United States and Utah flags from property management authorities, but no luck with other flags.

So what does the apartment complex have to say about all of this? KSL investigators contacted them on Barrott’s behalf directly, they replied that they in fact tended to agree with him.

In a statement, Redstone CEO and co-founder Grant Collard told us he offered this rationale behind the policy:

“400 Element is a diverse and inclusive community. As with most multi-family communities, we try to provide an environment that allows each resident to call it home. To avoid the potential for confrontation and division, the community has a policy that prohibits the display of flags (other than a properly displayed flag of the United States of America), posters, signs, and displays in windows and on patios and balconies. The State of Utah and the Federal Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination based on national origin, race, color, sex, religion, disability, and marital status. Often, policies are adopted to be compatible with the objectives of preventing discriminatory actions or the emergence of preferences that could be discriminatory. These help maintain the sense of community and avoid many of the pitfalls inherent in multi-family communities. Consistency in the application of policies is important. Adjustments to established policies based on current events or other external factors lead to potential disenfranchisement of other residents.

But in Barrott’s case, Collard also wrote “Given current events, I think we can make an exception.”

As for Barrott, he says he understands why there are rules.

“I feel like we have to have a lot of respect for the owners because it’s a building that they control and fair enough, they have a policy in place,” he said.

Again :

“All I do is fly in a place I control. It doesn’t show anything about them, it’s not like the apartment complex is stealing it. It is an enclosed space. I should have the right to be able to fly the Ukrainian flag for my own house.

He said he hopes that from then on, Redstone Residential will reconsider its policies and have a little more flexibility.

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