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Election Protection

By Salvatore J. Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA

During an election year, it's not uncommon to drive through local neighborhoods and find political signs of every shape, size, and party firmly planted in some of the nicest landscaped yards in town. In some areas, the saturation of signs can become quite unsightly as they are stapled to telephone posts, hanging from balconies, and grouped together on street corners like overgrown weeds. Here in the state of California, a new law (California Civil Code §1940.4) was passed January 1, 2012, that protects the rights of tenants to display their political yard signs without recourse from management or rental owners. The law states that a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying political signs related to any of the following:

1. An election or legislative vote, including an election of a candidate to public office.
2. The initiative, referendum, or recall process.
3. Issues that are before a public commission, public board, or elected local body for a
vote.

Furthermore, signs may even be posted or displayed in windows and on doors in multifamily dwellings, or from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of a single-family dwelling.

Managers and rental owners do have some control. They can require that the signs only remain posted or displayed for a “reasonable amount” of time, typically 90 days prior to the election and 15 days after the election, and can prohibit signs based on the following:

1. Signs larger than six (6) square feet.
2. If the posting or displaying would violate a local, state, or federal law.
3. If the posting or displaying would violate a lawful provision in a common interest
development.

So whether it’s local, regional, or national, here in California the signs are here to stay. Is this a positive for tenants' rights, or a continued loss of control for rental managers and owners?

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