Just in case you believe that Home Owners’ Associations (HOAs) have too much time on their hands and too much control, here is yet another restrictive HOA story. In many states, neighborhood homeowners’ associations (HOAs) can regulate just about anything – and everything – they wish. However, at least in New York, the HOA cannot tell you who you can and cannot support via a political yard sign. A state Supreme Court decision made last week established that local HOAs “do not have the authority to ban residents from displaying political signs.” The ruling came in response to a nine-year battle between local homeowners and their HOA, which had been fining them five dollars a day for every sign they placed in their yard. Ultimately,the HOA placed a lien on the home for $1,070. The HOA argued that the covenants in the neighborhood restricted “additional sign[s] or other advertising devices of any nature…placed for display to the public view on any home, in any window of any home, on any lot or other portion of the property.” The plaintiffs argued that the restrictions applied to advertising only and the court agreed that the rules did not apply to political signs. The homeowners are also protected from further levying of fines as part of the ruling.
Undoubtedly, the HOA will amend its by-laws to include any sign, not just advertising signs, but this is a minor victory against obtrusive HOA activity. In my experience, HOAs are run by people with too much time on their hands and too much desire to regulate….”autonomous dictatorships”, I call them.
What is the average HOA by-laws length? 500 pages? I have seen them to be over 1,000 pages and no one ever reads them (except those that patrol the neighborhoods scouring the community for violations). Yup, those same people that have too much time on their hands. Hey, I am just happy that spell-check recognized 'shenanigans" LOL
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D