What Are the Restrictions on Signage in a Boca Raton Homeowners Association?

Permanent signs are those specifically listed in the regulations as permitted signs, excluding temporary signs. If the board of directors attempts to prohibit political signs, it is recommended that an amendment be adopted, as an association's restrictive pacts have more legal authority and are more likely to withstand judicial scrutiny than a rule adopted by the board. The amendment must be approved by the required percentage of votes from the members of the association, as indicated in government documents. A meeting of members must be duly notified, with notice sent at least 14 days in advance and the amendment included with the notice of the meeting and power of attorney.

Once approved, the amendment must be recorded in the county's official records before it can be enforced. When preparing the proposed amendment to prohibit political signs in the community, several factors should be taken into account. Firstly, the amendment should indicate what types of signs are prohibited. Government documents often restrict the use of signs in the community, but say nothing about flags, banners, pendants and stickers.

Section 720.304 (b) of the Florida Statutes states that all owners may display a portable flag of no more than four and a half feet by six feet, a removable flag of the United States or official flag of the state of Florida in a respectful manner and an additional flag that represents the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard of the United States, or a POW-MIA, regardless of any pact, restriction or regulation of the association. Additionally, any owner of a parcel may display a reasonably sized sign provided by a security services company less than ten feet from any entrance to their house.Secondly, trying to specify what type of content is restricted to “politicians” can be problematic. While some statements and symbols are closely related to politics, other statements and symbols may not be as universally accepted as political. Trying to define what is political can be difficult and will probably not be able to capture all the signals that the association ultimately wants to avoid.

Furthermore, even if the association states that it will be the sole arbitrator in what is considered political, this may be due to an issue under Section 720 (303) of the Florida Statutes which has generally been cited by courts to prevent uncodified rules from being applied due to its subjective nature.Your homeowners association may not have any rules that say you cannot place signs on your lawn, but if you do they may tell you to remove them or get fined. Even though they are legally allowed to do so, some homeowners' associations may not want to enforce a ban on political signs because they don't want to spend time or money engaging in a legal battle, even though they are likely to win. It's no surprise then that tempers intensify even under normal circumstances when community associations in Florida remind their landlords to refrain from placing signs of any kind or worse yet remove those already placed.The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning and commercial transactions. More than 40 million homes in the United States are part of homeowners associations and planned communities.

Certain states such as Maryland prevent associations from regulating political publications on their owners' properties while others such as Virginia have no law requiring homeowners to publish political signs despite agreements presented by their association.

Kevin Gilstad
Kevin Gilstad

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