2020 is one of the hugest election years in the history of our nation. Because of this, many homeowners long to display signs supporting or voicing their dissent about any particular candidate.
Over the last few months, several online videos have popped up with people threatening HOA legal action unless a sign is taken down from a yard. Is this a valid argument in Texas? Can your association’s board regulate political yard signs?
Here’s a closer look at this issue and how you and your homeowners can approach it come Election Day and during future elections.
Is Your HOA Really Smothering Your First Amendment Rights?
While associations can’t flat out deny someone the right to post candidate signs, Texas associations can regulate political signage within specific limitations.
It’s important to state that if an association opts to regulate the display of political signs, there is no true violation of First Amendment rights in play.
Keep in mind that the First Amendment prevents federal, state, and local governments from smothering freedom of speech. Your association may be powerful, but is a private entity, and isn’t a branch of government.
So, if you ever encounter an association that has limits placed on political signage in their bylaws, keep the true meaning of the Constitution in mind before pursuing any serious action against an entity.
What Are the Texas Laws Regarding Political Signs in an Association?
According to state legislation, an association may not enforce or adopt a restrictive covenant that prohibits a property owner from displaying one or more signs advertising a candidate on their property. Political signs are allowed to be posted on personal property as long as:
- The sign is removed before the 10th day after the election date
- The sign is posted on or after the 90th day before the election in question
Specific Regulations Homeowners Must Follow
Keep in mind that while associations in Texas can’t prevent homeowners from displaying general political endorsement signs, there are exceptions. Texas legislation doesn’t prohibit the adoption of an association covenant that abides by the following standards:
- Requirements for signs to be ground-mounted
- Limitations on how many signs a property can post with regards to their candidate preference
What Signs Could Be Prohibited?
As we’ve mentioned before, political signs can’t be denied but can be regulated. Some examples of signs that could be prohibited in an association’s bylaws include the following:
- Signs that contain roofing materials, siding, or paving materials
- Signs that have more than one balloon or light attached to them
- Displays painted on architectural surfaces
- Signs positioned or attached to environments that threaten public safety
- Signs that have generally offensive content on display
- Signage that violates the law
- Signs larger than four by six feet
- Signs that are visually or audibly distracting to motorists
Vote Safely This Year in Your HOA Community With Goodwin & Company
If your association has questions about proper election etiquette around the community, an association management team like Goodwin & Company can help answer any questions. We’re ready to make your community the best it can be from all fronts. Contact us today to learn more about our services.