During an election year, it’s not uncommon to drive through local neighborhoods and find political signs of every shape, size and party firmly planted in some of the nicest landscaped yards in town. In some areas, the saturation of signs can become quite unsightly as they are stapled to telephone posts, hanging from balconies and grouped together on street corners like overgrown weeds.
Here in California, a new law (California Civil Code §1940.4) was passed Jan. 1 that protects the rights of tenants to display their political yard signs without recourse from management or rental owners. The law states that a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying political signs related to any of the following:
- An election or legislative vote, including an election of a candidate to public office.
- The initiative, referendum or recall process.
- Issues that are before a public commission, public board or elected local body for a vote.
Furthermore, signs may even be posted or displayed in windows and on doors in multi-family dwellings, or from the yard, window, door, balcony or outside wall of a single-family dwelling.
Managers and rental owners do have some control. They can require that the signs only remain posted or displayed for a “reasonable amount” of time, typically 90 days prior to the election and 15 days after the election, and can prohibit signs based on the following:
- Signs larger than 6 square feet.
- If the posting or displaying would violate a local, state or federal law.
- If the posting or displaying would violate a lawful provision in a common interest development.
So whether it’s local, regional or national, here in California the signs are here to stay. Is this a positive for tenants’ rights, or a continued loss of control for rental managers and owners?
Salvatore Friscia is a seasoned real estate investor and a residential property management specialist, focusing on single-family homes, condos and small apartment complexes. He is the founder of San Diego Premier Property Management as well as The Friscia Group One, an investment group focused on distressed properties. He is a regular contributor to the industry blog All Things Property Management by Buildium, a property management software company.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.