Trump Signs in the Yard!
Adams Stirling PLC
  California's Leader in Community Association LawAugust 7, 2020

My HOA allows political signs to be posted in front yards. Some people have overdone it and there are 12 trump signs in a front yard. Not only is this disturbing, but it looks awful. Can we contact the owner and ask that they be removed? The HOA claims they have no control because of the Davis-Stirling Act. Is this true? -Anita S.

RESPONSE: Brace yourself, it's only going to get worse. Trump signs, Biden signs, Black Lives Matter signs. We are less than three months from a national election and the craziness has already started.
Unlike the coronavirus, there is no medical treatment and no vaccine in development.

Fliers, Signs and Altercations. Fliers will be slid under doors and taped to laundry room walls and elevators, then torn down and replaced with opposing fliers, then torn down again. Signs and flags will appear in windows, on balconies and in yards. Yard signs will be defaced and stolen. There will be graffiti on walls and sidewalks. There will be shouting matches and physical altercations.

Political Rallies. In addition, there could be political rallies in the common areas.  Effective January 1, 2018, associations cannot prohibit residents from assembling in the common areas for purposes related to elections to public office. (Civ. Code §4515(b)(1)) That includes hosting public officials and candidates to speak or raise funds. (Civ. Code §4515(b)(2).) Moreover, members cannot be charged a fee or required to make a deposit, buy insurance, or pay premiums or deductibles on the associations’ insurance when using the common areas. (Civ. Code §4515(b)(3); (c).)

Time Periods for Signage. Even though associations cannot prohibit noncommercial signs (Civ. Code §4710), they can establish reasonable time periods for political signage. In mobile home residency law (regulating subdivisions, cooperatives and condominiums), a political sign "may not be displayed in excess of a period of time from 90 days prior to an election to 15 days following the election, unless a local ordinance... imposes a more restrictive period of time for the display of such a sign." (Civ. Code §799.10.)

Various appellate cases have likened associations to landlords and owners to tenants. By statute, "A tenant shall post and remove political signs in compliance with the time limits set by the ordinance for the jurisdiction where the premises are located... If no local ordinance exists or if the local ordinance does not include a time limit for posting and removing political signs on private property, the landlord may establish a reasonable time period for the posting and removal of political signs. A reasonable time period for this purpose shall begin at least 90 days prior to the date of the election or vote to which the sign relates and end at least 15 days following the date of the election or vote." (Civ. Code §1940.4(d).)

Limiting Number of Signs. Associations can also set reasonable limits on the number of signs. In an HOA case that dealt with real estate signs, the court concluded "to protect all owners it may impose reasonable restrictions for aesthetic purposes.... Moreover, we see no problem with allowing only one sign per unit, or requiring that signs be removed within three days of a lease or sale." (Fourth La Costa v. Seith.) When it comes to political signs, one sign might be too restrictive but maybe not. It will depend on what a court deems "reasonable."

RECOMMENDATION: Associations cannot escape being pulled into the fray. There will be demands on boards to do something about signage, rallies and altercations. It's going to be a mess. Boards should adopt reasonable rules for distributing fliers, restricting signage in the common areas, and regulating the size, number, and time periods for displaying signs in or on separate interests.

For assemblies, guidelines should establish times and locations, noise levels, duration, and scheduling priorities. Penalties need to be adopted for violations. Call us if you need to adopt rules for political signage and rallies.


California's Department Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) issued a Bulletin Dated July 24, 2020 on employment discrimination during the pandemic. The DFEH prohibits employers from disclosing the names of employees who test positive for the coronavirus. Page 4 of the bulletin states:
What information may an employer reveal if an employee is quarantined, tests positive for COVID-19, or has come in contact with someone who has the virus?

Employers should not identify any such employees by name in the workplace to ensure compliance with privacy laws. If an employee tests positive for or is suspected to have COVID-19, the employer will need to follow the most current local, state, or federal public health recommendations. Employers should take further steps at the direction of public health authorities that may include closing the worksite, deep cleaning, and permitting or requiring telework.

Employers may notify affected employees in a way that does not reveal the personal health-related information of an employee. For example, the employer could speak with employees or send an email or other written communication stating: “[Employer] has learned that an employee at [office location] tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The employee received positive results of this test on [date]. This email is to notify you that you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and you should contact your local public health department for guidance and any possible actions to take based on individual circumstances.”

Employers may not confirm the health status of employees or communicate about employees’ health.
RECOMMENDATION: Boards should work with legal counsel on any messaging to the membership about the coronavirus.

NorCal Counties. The California Department of Public Health issued guidelines on Youth Sports and Elementary School Waivers.

Contra Costa County has new School and Childcare Guidance and a new Mass Isolation Order. Marin County extended its Eviction Moratorium.

Mendocino County has a new order capping permissible outdoor gatherings (including worship/religious services, funerals and memorials and protests) to a maximum of 100 people.

Mono County has a new order which clarifies that gatherings of persons from different households except for gatherings specifically allowed (religious, cultural gatherings and political protests) are prohibited; and wedding ceremonies are limited to 30 persons, and receptions and other parties related to the wedding ceremony are prohibited: Mono County Order re Gatherings and Weddings.

Monterey County has approved an ordinance imposing Fines for Face Covering Violations.

Santa Cruz County adopted a new health ordinance for violations of the health orders allowing for fines and jail time.

SoCal Counties. Riverside County: youth sports can resume with social distancing and a stable cohort such as a class or a team — no competition, event or tournament is permitted at this time. The City of Palm Springs issued a modified order for the closure of bars at restaurants to 12 a.m. instead of 11 p.m.

Los Angeles County updated its tennis/pickleball court protocols, including face coverings at all times, except while playing, eating or drinking, and symptom checks before entry (in-person, online, or through signage). The City of Los Angeles updated its order to allow outdoor operations of fitness centers, hair salons, museums and zoos, and also removed allowance for in-person indoor protests and instead provides for in-person protests outdoors.

San Diego County added employer requirements to promptly notify the County Department of Public Health if there is an employee diagnosed with COVID-19 by providing their name, date of birth, and contact information. If three or more cases occur at an employer within a span of 14 days, the employer must provide notice of exposure to the employees, customers or any other persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace. The County strongly recommends providing the same notice if at least one employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.

READING THE CHART. Because the chart is large and the text small, you can easily make it larger for viewing by holding down the "Ctrl" key on the left side of your keyboard and then using your finger to scroll forward or backward with the wheel on your mouse. You will see the text grow larger or smaller as you move the wheel.
For a list of county restrictions and links to Health Department Orders, see County Chart 8-5-20. The chart is also posted on our website.

ADA access….that is so GREAT….2 thumbs UP for being on top of this issue….!! - Doug R.

Wow, the ADA website is what I'd call "Client-Centered." Thank you! -Deborrah E.

Your response to the inquiry regarding smoking in a non-smoking condo complex was HIGHLY offensive...your recommendation to gift a box of cigars extremely insensitive, unprofessional and plain unacceptable. You owe readers an apology. -Pam V.

RESPONSE: I don't know what came over me. The Artificial Intelligence we installed on our website must have taken over.

I needed a laugh for the day. Thank you! -Carol H.

Mr. Adams, thank you so much for your informative newsletters regarding HOA rules and regs affected by state law. I am a past board member but keep up with changes which affect our association. -Emma M.

Thanks for the exceptionally valuable newsletters. -Keith F.

You write great articles and I enjoy reading all your work. -David C.

Adrian, I'm sure that you know that Senator Wieckowski is the  knucklehead who authored SB 323. This guy is either on someone's payroll or a complete idiot, or both. Is there a way to educate the HOA community about him and his cohorts and sponsors? There should be a coordinated effort to vote this guy out of office. If not, what's next? -Julian M.

RESPONSE: Senator Wieckowski and Marjorie Murray were thick as thieves on the dumpster fire known as SB 323. To defeat bad legislation, readers need to follow CAI's California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) for alerts on bad legislation and how to stop it. Everyone should subscribe to their newsletter

Boards can contact us for friendly,
professional advice.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner

DISCLAIMER. Our newsletter provides commentary based on sketchy information we receive from readers. From time to time, we add a little humor. Some find it amusing. Others are appalled. Some readers are excited when they score free legal advice. Not so. Our newsletter provides commentary only, not legal advice. You need to pay real money for an attorney to review all the facts and give you a legal opinion. We do that too, but you have to actually hire us. It's okay, we're friendly. You can call us. Keep in mind we are corporate counsel to associations only.

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