No Trump Voters Allowed

Junction landlord screens renters based on politics


Landlord Mark Holmes has a two-bedroom apartment for rent on Main Street, but he states in his ad that he will not rent to anyone who supports presidential candidate Donald Trump. It is not illegal to discriminate against tenants because of their political beliefs, according to the Fair Housing Act.

For rent: Downtown apartment, 2 bedrooms. Includes organic garden space, hot tub, great backyard. You can bring your dogs if they have references as good as yours. If voting for Donald Trump, do not call.

Supporters of The Donald aren’t welcome at Mark Holmes’ rental on Main Street, indicated by this advertisement he placed in The Nickel last week.

The ad prompted some anonymous callers who disagreed with his political statement to leave hate messages on his voicemail.

His reasoning behind placing the stipulation in the ad is that he doesn’t know what to do anymore about the possibility that Trump might be elected, and he’s just had it.

“I don’t know what to do anymore about what’s going on in this country,” he said. “It’s just a mess.”

One of the messages left by an anonymous caller claimed that Holmes was violating federal housing rules and discriminating against political affiliations.

But that’s simply not true, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“That has nothing to do with the Fair Housing Act,” said HUD spokesman Jerry Brown, noting that he hasn’t received inquiries about similar ads. “But that seems to be a first, and it’s original.”

Holmes said he was inspired to include the stipulation for a few reasons, including the fact that he doesn’t want to share a roof with Trump sympathizers who subscribe to Trump’s rhetoric, which has included controversial comments about banning Muslims from the country, building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and encouraging violence at his rallies.

“He’s preaching hate and he’s preaching … a lot of venom, spit and vinegar. And I live in the top part of the house,” Holmes said. “I don’t want anybody that even thinks that Donald Trump can be a good president to live in my home.”

Holmes said he has received several applicants and has a potential renter already, so the ad didn’t cause problems for him in attracting business, but, “I didn’t do it as a gimmick to rent at all,” he said. “I think people just don’t understand that (Trump’s possible election) is going to happen.”

Holmes, who has lived in the Grand Valley since the 1970s, said he’s a long-time activist, who started protesting during the Vietnam War and continued over the years as he encountered various causes he believed in, including the fight against a toxic waste incinerator proposed for Cisco, Utah, in the late 1980s.

He calls the current political situation a “quagmire” and said he’s recruiting dedicated, like-minded folks for a grassroots coalition to promote change on a variety of issues, not just opposing Trump for president.

“But it’s not easy,” he said. “I swear to God, half the nation is on Prozac. People are asleep at the wheel.”

He hopes to recruit participants for peaceful demonstrations on a variety of issues, and wants participants who are willing to “get their fingernails dirty.”

“I want to pick people who don’t mind spending a night in jail during a Gandhi-type of protest,” he said.

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