Aransas County Democratic Clubhouse

The official blog of the Aransas County Democratic Club.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Sign of the Times

So you think you can’t put up a sign for a political candidate or ballot issue because of deed restrictions. Think again. In 1994, a Harris County District Court ruled that a restrictive covenant prohibiting the display of temporary political signs was unconstitutional. Last year, a statute passed by the Texas Legislature, HB 873, clarified how and under what circumstances a Home Owners Association (HOA) may regulate the placement of political signs.

The new law added Section 202.009 to the Texas Property Code. The section defines the things that can and cannot be prohibited by a HOA. A HOA cannot enforce restrictive covenants that prohibit owners from displaying signs that advertise a political candidate or ballot item for an election. The signs may appear on the property anytime 90 days before the election and ten days thereafter.

A HOA may require the signs to be ground-mounted and no more than one sign per candidate or per ballot item. According to the law, a HOA may also prohibit signs that:
  • Contain roofing, siding or paving material, flora, balloons, lights or any other similar building, landscaping or unusual decorative component

  • Attach to plant material, traffic control devices, lights, trailers, vehicles or other existing structures or objects

  • Include the painting of architectural surfaces

  • Threaten public health and safety

  • Exceed four feet by six feet

  • Violate the law

  • Incorporate language, graphics or any display that offends an ordinary person

  • Distract motorists with music, sounds, streamers or other means.

The HOA is allowed to remove signs that violate their discretionary requirements. But this is only as long as their requirements are not more restrictive than the statute allows. Note that this law says that only restrictive covenants (deed restrictions) may be enforced. Mere by-laws and rules have no legal standing under the statute.

So, what are you waiting for? Put up those signs!

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