Does Your Homeowners Association Allow Political Yard Signs?

Oct 28, 2016 10:28:00 AM / by HOA Manager

Vote-2016Americans are starting to gear up for voting date and showing support for their preferred 2016 presidential candidate by volunteering at campaign locations, watching the latest debates, and posting political signs on their property. This raises the issue of whether or not a homeowners association can restrict residents from posting political signs. Learn more in the article excerpt below and what the law in California says.

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Can Your HOA Tell You Not to Post Political Signs?

If you’re one of the more than 60 million Americans — about one in five U.S. residents — who live in a home owners association, condominium community, cooperative, or other planned community, you might not have the right to use your yard to proclaim your political views to passersby.

The  homeowners associations that limit or even ban political signs aren’t trying to restrict your First Amendment rights. They just think it’s more important to have a tidy-looking street than to know which candidate the neighbors prefer. My neighbors down the street, who had nine yard signs in the last election, would clearly disagree with any limits. 

State law also comes into play in this issue. Some states prohibit community associations from restricting political signs. Others say HOAs have to allow signs, but can restrict them (for example, saying you can put up a sign 45 days before and 7 days after an election and it can’t be bigger than 2 ft. x 2 ft.), says Frank Rathburn, spokesperson for the  Community Associations Institute.

In states without rules on political signs, home owners associations can do what they want without breaking state laws, but there might be local laws they must follow, Rathburn says.
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In California, there are some restrictions detailed in the The Davis-Stirling Act regarding the use of political signs, prohibiting where they can be posted, time periods for displaying, the number that can be displayed, the size of the signs, and sometimes even the decorative components.

If you’d like to know the yard sign policy in your Association, start by reading your governing documents and HOA rules, having a general understanding of the state and local laws, and attending a board meeting to ask about any political yard sign limitations.

Most homeowners associations have reasonable yard sign restrictions for the purpose of keeping the community looking less cluttered than an attack on your First Amendment rights. Stay informed, follow the rules, and you’re community will be a pleasant place to live.
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Topics: Member of HOA, HOA Rules and Regulations, HOA Law