Commercial Signs
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COMMERCIAL SIGNAGE

A commercial sign is one that displays a message on behalf of a company or individual for the intent of making a profit. It is economic in nature and usually has the intent of convincing the audience to purchase a specific product or service. Associations cannot prohibit noncommercial signage which implies they can prohibit commercial signs and flags from being posted (i) in the common areas and (ii) in separate interests. (Civ. Code ยง4710.)

First Amendment. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law...." The Bill of Rights protects citizens from governmental restrictions, not private ones. Thus, businesses, common interest developments and owners of private property can restrict the activities of others in their employ or on their property--including the display of commercial signs.

Real Estate Signs. Even though signs advertising property for sale or for lease constitute commercial speech, real estate signs are allowed under the Davis-Stirling Act.

Recommendation. Some CC&Rs are silent on signage issues while others are explicit. Boards should work with legal counsel to review the authorizing language in your CC&Rs and then draft appropriate restrictions on signage.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

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