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yard signs

Yard signs—especially those endorsing or opposing a political candidate or issue—are sometimes the target of homeowners’ associations (HOAs), neighborhood organizations, local governments, and vandals.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution only prohibits federal, state, or local government interference with free speech. But many states have enacted statutes that protect elections and political speech in yard and other signs—allowing HOAs, neighborhood organizations, and local governments to place some limits on political signs, but not to ban them. For example, signs may be required to be inoffensive, mounted in the ground, and only displayed for 45 or 90 days before an election and up to ten days following an election.

State statutes that permit political signs on private property may also permit political signs in an unpaved right-of-way (ROW)—a city-owned strip of land from the edge of a city street or county road.

Yard signs that are not political speech—such as those warning trespassers (No Trespassing) or advertising a business’s goods or services or that a property or home is for sale—are generally subject to restrictions by HOAs, neighborhood organizations, and local governments. For example, some municipalities may require a permit to display certain signs.

In Texas, the regulation of yard signs, including those for political purposes, is influenced by both state statutes and the rules of homeowners' associations (HOAs). Texas law protects the right to display political signs on private property, but it allows HOAs and local governments to impose reasonable regulations. For instance, Texas Property Code §202.009 limits the ability of HOAs to restrict political signs: HOAs cannot enforce an outright ban, but they can set rules regarding the number, size, and duration of display of political signs. Typically, political signs may be displayed 90 days before an election and must be removed within 10 days after the election. Non-political signs, such as those advertising a business or warning against trespassing, are more heavily regulated and may require permits or be subject to local ordinances and HOA rules that dictate where and how these signs can be displayed. It's important to note that while the First Amendment protects against government infringement on free speech, it does not prevent private entities like HOAs from setting their own rules, within the limits of state law.

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