Real Estate Signs

Commercial in Nature
Civil Code Section 4710 provides homeowners with rights to display and post noncommercial signs in or upon their separate interests, subject to certain limitations. (See “Flags, Banners & Signs.”) However, Section 4710 does not apply to the display and posting of real estate signs (i.e., “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs) because such signs are deemed commercial signs. (See Fourth La Costa v. Seith, at 579 (“…signs advertising property for sale or for lease constitute commercial speech as the advertiser’s interest is purely economical.”).)

Notwithstanding that fact, Civil Code Sections 712 and 713 provide homeowners with limited rights to display real estate signs on their properties, subject to the limitations discussed below.

General Protections
Civil Code Section 712 renders void any provision in an association’s governing documents that seeks to prohibit or restrict the right of a property owner or the owner’s agent to display a real estate sign on the owner’s property. (Civ. Code § 712(a).) The real estate sign may advertise the following:

Sign Posting & Display Locations
Real estate signs may be posted or displayed on the owner’s property, or the property of another with their consent. (Civ. Code §§ 712(a), 713(a).) However, owners have no right to post real estate signs in association common areas if prohibited by the association. (Fourth La Costa v. Seith, at 581.) Therefore, in a condominium situation where the owner does not have a yard, the owner typically posts the real estate sign in the window of his/her unit. In planned developments, the owner may post the sign in any reasonable location of his/her property that is in plain view of the public, so long as it does not adversely affect public safety or traffic safety. (Civ. Code §§ 712(a), 713(a).)

Reasonable Restrictions Permitted

Aesthetic Restrictions – the real estate signs must be of “reasonable dimensions and design.” (Civ. Code §§ 712(a), 713(a).) An association therefore has the authority to impose reasonable restrictions on real estate signs for aesthetic purposes. (Fourth La Costa v. Seith, at 581.)

Quantity Restrictions – an association may limit real estate signs to one (1) sign per unit/property. (Fourth La Costa v. Seith, at 581.)

Removal Requirements – an association may require that signs be removed within a reasonable time-period following a sale (i.e., within three (3) days). (Fourth La Costa v. Seith, at 581.)


Related Topics

Related Statutes

Related Case Law

  • Fourth La Costa Condominium Owners Association v. Seith
    (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 472

    [CC&R Amendments; Real Estate Signs] Court upheld lender consent requirement for CC&R amendment, rather than lender vote; Real estate signs may be regulated for aesthetic purposes and may be prohibited from being posted in HOA common areas.