Like government, homeowner association boards sometimes unfairly get a bad rap; at other times the bad rap is earned. An area of contention where HOA boards can be required to rule is renegade signage of various kinds. While more libertarian types feel posting any sign is protected speech under the Bill of Rights, those more comfortable with regulation may advocate “sign-free zones”. These thorny issues can require the wisdom of Solomon, and humorous and/or unfortunate results sometimes occur when these boards are led to act.
A woman in Tennessee was reprimanded by her HOA for placing a For Sale sign in front of her residence since “signs, banners or billboards” were prohibited by their covenants. She was finally forced to display her realtor’s signs in her home window, hidden from view.
A husband and wife in Louisiana were sued by their HOA for displaying a professionally designed sign in their front yard supporting their son serving in the Marines in Afghanistan. While local opinion tilted in favor of the couple and their public display of patriotism and family support, the HOA felt an obligation to support their covenants.
One Colorado HOA attached signs to already-existing city signage that threatened to tow vehicles parked overnight on the neighborhood streets, drawing the ire of visitors and homeowners alike. Turns out they weren't enforceable, creating a minor inconvenience.
Finally, an avid hockey fan encouraged his neighbors to support the local team’s push toward the playoffs with a homemade sign in his front yard. While some were supportive and possibly encouraged, at least one neighbor somehow felt encouraged to turn over her midnight photos to her HOA board.
Here at Capital StreetScapes, we’ll do our best to help your HOA avoid a news service nightmare. Our decorative street signs are high quality, not high drama. Our wayfinding signage systems are designed to inform and inspire, not inflame and inspire litigation. And while we provide all types of customized signage, we promise to provide constructive feedback if we think you’re heading for the local headlines.