The Community Associations Institute, the leading organization representing the interests of community associations, recently brought some added clarity into the national conversation over restrictions of political and social-cause yard signs and flags in HOA communities. It issued a new public policy recommendation in October prior to the midterm elections to help its state legislative committees chart their work on this topic.
The organization’s new Political and Noncommercial Signs and Flags Public Policy reports that 13 states already have laws addressing signs. It notes that the First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of speech without restriction by government entities or state actors, but it does not apply to private parties such as community associations.
“CAI respects the right to freedom of speech set forth in the constitutions of the United States and various states but recognizes that right is not unlimited. CAI also recognizes and supports the rights of residential community associations to reasonably regulate political and noncommercial signs within communities in a manner consistent with federal, state, and local laws. CAI supports legislation that recognizes the core principles of self-governance, self-regulation, and co-ownership of common property and the community association housing model balanced with owners’ rights of free speech. Because each community is unique, legislation should allow an association to develop reasonable rules and regulations concerning the time, location, materials, size, number, and manner of where political and noncommercial signs, political displays, or political activities are located while preserving freedom of political expression,” reads the organization’s policy statement.