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Can a home owners association (HOA) restrict or forbid the display of a "For Sale" sign by an owner selling their unit:

  • In the window of a unit?
  • On a posted sign, with the usual pole planted on the front edge of the association’s property (common area)?

In particular I am interested in Washington state of the US. I looked through RCW 64.34, but I have not found this issue addressed. Also, there a difference in this regard between the old Condo act and the new Condo act regarding this issue?

  • Are either of your cases common areas? If yes, why would you expect unilateral exclusive use for yourself? – user662852 Nov 14 '15 at 21:20
  • @user662852 I clarified to say common area. – Basil Bourque Nov 14 '15 at 22:30
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Prima facie, yes

RCW 64.34.324

Subject to the provisions of the declaration, the bylaws may provide for any other matters the association deems necessary and appropriate.

However, the by-laws cannot contravene local, state or federal law (including common law precedent). So, if a law at that level allows it the by-laws cannot stop it.

  • That provision is not absolute or far-reaching. Both the bylaws and the rules apply only to operations of the association as a legal organization and to the preservation of the owner's property. They cannot impact the enjoyment of your essential ownership rights. As an attorney explained to me, the bylaws and rules can define the way you use the dumpster/recycling bins but cannot require you to stand on your head every time you enter the premises. As I recall, an HOA can restrict the display of a "For Rent" sign but cannot do so for a "For Sale" sign. This Answer is too broad and not useful. – Basil Bourque Nov 13 '15 at 7:04
  • @BasilBourque so you already have an attorney you've asked about this? Are you going to post an answer to your question? – user662852 Nov 14 '15 at 21:21
  • @user662852 I discussed this general area of law years ago with an expert condo attorney. I cannot remember details, but vaguely recall that "For Rent" signs can be restricted/banned but not "For Sale" signs, the latter being an interference with your essential ownership rights – but I cannot remember for certain, hence my Question. – Basil Bourque Nov 14 '15 at 22:33
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This is common. I have seen this on several occasions. As to the validity of the restriction, ask them if they could point you to the chapter or paragraph of the bylaws in place that restrict placing for sale signs on the property.

That way, you know what they are basing their argument on.

  • 1
    My question is about the law that would invalidate such a restriction, not about the governing documents. – Basil Bourque Nov 14 '15 at 22:31

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