“For Sale” Signs – Can Your HOA Prevent Them?

By August 7, 2012Blog, Uncategorized

 Selling your home can be a difficult experience, but if your homeowner’s association is preventing you from displaying a “for sale” sign on your property, the process can be downright impossible. A homeowner’s association is typically an organization that has been set up by the residents or developer to regulate and maintain a certain standard of living for members. Unfortunately, some HOAs go to extremes when it comes to enforcing rules, and this may be a problem if you need to sell your home using traditional methods.

Why HOAs Don’t Like Sale Signs

One of the biggest reasons that an HOA would choose to prevent a seller from placing a “for sale” sign on their own property is that it may give the appearance that the neighborhood is an undesirable location. This effect can be multiplied if a number of people are trying to sell their homes in the same neighborhood at the same time. Another reason for preventing such signs could be that some signs may not reflect certain image standards that the HOA contract dictates. In some cases, even if an HOA allows a sign on a homeowner’s property, the sign must conform to strict standards regarding size, color and placement.

Why Signs are Necessary

As a homeowner, not being able to place a sign in your yard advertising the sale of your home can mean many missed opportunities, especially in a poor housing market. Using a “for sale” sign is one of the most common and effective ways to let a passersby know that your home is available, possibly the asking price, the name of the real estate agency in charge of the sale and more. When these signs aren’t able to be displayed, due to the actions of an HOA, sellers may find it takes much more time and money to advertise their properties through other channels.  Some HOAs even prevent open houses, or even showings other than by appointment only.

What Can Be Done?

If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your HOA is blocking the placement of your sign, you may want to first speak with your HOA president. This should be done politely and professionally, and you should outline your reasons for needing the sign. Additionally, you should carefully examine your CC&R’s Rules and Regulations to find out exactly what you can and cannot due to remedy conflicts. Finally, if you are unable to come to a resolution with your HOA, you may need to speak with an attorney who specializes in property and real estate law or contract law.  Another avenue is to search for your county’s ombudsman; with so many HOA complaints in the past two decades, most areas have ombudsmen available to protect the public.

It’s important to keep in mind that, while most HOAs have some legal authority over their members, homeowners in California can rely on civil code section 712-713 for legal recourse. Essentially, this section of the civil code states that homeowners may place a “for sale” sign on their property displaying relevant information, as long as the sign is reasonably sized and is not blocking traffic. This means that your HOA cannot make something that is legal by California law into something that is illegal – simply by putting it in a contract. If you have more questions on how this law pertains to your specific situation, please seek out the services of an attorney.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ke_netan_to/30264438/


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