AUSTIN -- Apartment hunting in Central Texas can be overwhelming with all the options out there. After finding the right price point, amenities and extra fees can be deal breakers.

That was the case for someone looking at a complex in Cedar Park.

A lease addendum states that, by signing it, the person consents that management can use photos or videos taken by employees for promotional purposes. It also states someone's identity could be released and the complex isn't liable.

Is this legal? The short answer is yes.

"By and large in the state of Texas and around the U.S., if it's not illegal by state or federal law and you agree to it and if you sign it, you're bound by it," said attorney Perry Minton with Minton, Burton, Bassett and Collins, P.C.

Minton said social media is relatively new ground for apartment complexes, so more than likely this kind of form is meant to protect them against liability.

Minton said this kind of addendum is hard to enforce. If staff members take photos at the pool, how do they know who lives at the apartment complex and who's just visiting a friend? Minton said staff would probably avoid situations like that since they'd only have permission from the people who signed the addendum

For anyone signing an apartment lease, there's always room for negotiation.

"A lot of the times they'll tell you you have to sign it as it is, and if you refuse, sometimes you'll get a call back and they say, 'We thought about it and we're willing to modify something,'" said Minton.

Other times, if the complex isn't willing to budge, it could mean a renter has to start looking somewhere else.


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