Some Texas cities could have hosted four different elections, including the race for congressional seats and the Presidential election, by the end of the year. During any election, it isn’t abnormal to see residential neighborhoods lined with signs of each resident’s preferred candidate or ballot measure — some houses with dozens in their front yard.
A few residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have already complained that their HOAs have asked them to remove political signs from their yards. They believe it’s a violation of their First Amendment right, and they are correct.
Can an HOA prevent political signs from being placed in residential yards? Not in Texas.
Some could argue that residents signed a contract, knowing they couldn’t place political signs in their yard. This doesn’t matter in Texas; it’s a violation of Texas Election Code §259.002 to even try to restrict it.
“Sec. 259.002. Except as otherwise provided by this section, a property owners’ association may not enforce or adopt a restrictive covenant that prohibits a property owner from displaying on the owner’s property one or more signs advertising a candidate or measure for an election: on or after the 90th day before the date of the election to which the sign relates; or before the 10th day after that election date.”-Texas Election Code Sec. 259.002.
This means the State of Texas protects political signs starting 90 days before election day through the 10 days following the election — no matter what. This is freedom of political expression and cannot be regulated by an HOA.
However, the statute “does not prohibit the enforcement or adoption of a covenant that: requires a sign to be ground-mounted; or limits a property owner to displaying only one sign for each candidate or measure.”
HOAs can also limit the size of political signs to four-by-six feet; can regulate how the sign is placed — for example, ground-mounted — and can limit the signage to one sign per candidate or ballot measure.
Texas also allows associations to ban language or images in political signs which “would be offensive to the ordinary person.”
This section does not prohibit the enforcement or adoption of a covenant that prohibits a sign that: contains roofing material, siding, paving materials, flora, one or more balloons or lights, or any other similar building, landscaping, or nonstandard decorative component; is attached in any way to plant material, a traffic control device, a light, a trailer, a vehicle, or any other existing structure or object; includes the painting of architectural surfaces; threatens the public health or safety; is larger than four feet by six feet; violates a law; contains language, graphics, or any display that would be offensive to the ordinary person; or is accompanied by music or other sounds or by streamers or is otherwise distracting to motorists.-Texas Election Code Sec. 259.002.
All in all, Texas associations cannot prevent signs from being placed in a yard, but they most definitely can regulate them.