Thornton Army veteran risks eviction over displaying American flag

THORNTON, Colo. — Greystar-owned Avana Eastlake Apartments on East 120th Avenue in Thornton is at the center of controversy for prohibiting tenants from flying the American flag.

A tenant at the complex who is a disabled veteran is defying that rule. In doing so, he’s risking eviction.

Myles Hoenisch served nearly seven years in the Army, including a tour in Iraq.

“I joined the Army because I wanted to give back to my country,” Myles said.

Inside his apartment, red, white and blue decorations are plentiful. Myles and his wife Stacie show a very deep love for their country. But the Hoenischs say their patriotism is apparently too much for their landlords.

Per their lease agreement, no flags of any kind are allowed on balconies. Myles and Stacie say their American flag has been displayed on their balcony since mid-June.

Just before Independence Day, Myles says the property manager told him the flag had to go. Myles says he asked why.

“She replied, 'Because the American flag makes the property look undesirable,'" he said. “We can’t fly the American flag, which makes no damn sense to me.”

Avana Eastlake Apartments provided FOX31 with the following statement:

“We are proud to support our country and the Veterans who have served.  Our lease agreement, which all residents sign, prohibits any type of flag displayed from balconies.  We often remind residents of this policy and whether it is a college football flag or an American flag, we are required to treat all residents equally.” –Avana Eastlake Apartments

“The country itself, and the pride of this country, is not the same as it used to be,” Myles said.

The couple — defying orders to remove the flag from their balcony — say they will continue to fight. They are risking fines and eviction. Their lease is up in December. They say they plan to focus on home ownership after their current lease.

There are federal and state laws that prevent homeowner and condominium associations from prohibiting the display of American flags. Those laws do not protect tenants in apartments, according to Denver attorney Parker Semler.

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