Weighing religious freedom vs. rental alterations

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Q: My tenants have asked for permission to place a large, conventional religious symbol on their front door. They'd need to screw it into the wood. My leases prohibit alterations without my consent, and I don't want the door disfigured like this. But they say I have to agree because saying "no" will interfere with their right to practice their religion. What do you think? --Maureen B. A: Your question highlights the tension between a landlord's legal right to prevent physical modifications or alterations to her property and a tenant's desire to exercise her religious beliefs, which may include placing symbols on the landlord's property. Landlords everywhere have the right to prevent even the slightest physical change to their property, including painting and even nail holes for artwork. Few are so unreasonable to prohibit picture-hanging, but they are within their rights to charge the tenant at the end of the rental term for the cost to cover and paint the holes....