and Video Courtesy of Channel 6 -- Orlando
October 16, 2012
With the November
election approaching, Homeowners' Associations across Central Florida are
cracking down on political lawn signs.
County residents, Deena and Bob Adelson were stunned when they
received a letter from their Phillips Landing Homeowners' Association
telling them their Romney yard sign is prohibited.
This is freedom of speech, whatever happened to that?," asked Deena
husband, Bob Adelson, said "the HOA does a beautiful job of
keeping this place very, very nice and secure, but you lose that security
when the rights of the individual are taken away."
Deena Adelson decided to air her frustration on Facebook.
then all of a sudden all these people started posting and saying 'What? I
can't believe it. You're not going to do that are you?'" said Deena
the answer is yes, Adelson did remove the sign because she has to.
owner's going to lose," said Local 6 legal expert Luis Calderon.
says despite the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, in almost all
sign disputes, the HOA will prevail. While courts typically rule
against local or state governments that restrict political signs, HOAs
are private entities and can create their own rules.
the thing is that they're not discriminating on the grounds of what kind
of speech it is," said Calderon. "You can restrict speech on
time, manner and place."
says such rules are meant to protect residents from cases of extreme, even
offensive signage, so in the Adelson's neighborhood all signs must
go. He says the rules apply even if residents never signed a contract. When
people buy property that is governed by an HOA, the by-laws transfer
with the deed.
each HOA is different. For example, in Orlando's Baldwin Park
neighborhood, the HOA says residents are allowed one political sign
are also some states, such as Texas and Washington, that prohibit HOAs
from prohibiting political signs.