For Sale Signs in HOAs

In September 2013, the Arizona Court of Appeals made a unanimous ruling  in Hawk v. PC Village Association, Inc. that provisions in Arizona’s Planned Communities Act [§33-1808] pertaining to “For Sale/For Rent” signs trump any contrary provision in an association’s governing documents.

This case originated in 2009 when the Hawks placed a “For Sale” sign on their property on two separate occasions. The association promptly removed the sign both times. The association was enforcing its CC&Rs, which prohibited owners from placing signs on their lots and further allowed the association or an agent to enter onto the property to correct a violation.

The Hawks prevailed in the trial court, arguing that they had the right to display a “For Sale” sign because the section of the CC&Rs prohibiting the display was overridden by Arizona Revised Statute §33-1808(F) and §33-441. The association was prevented from removing the industry-standard “For Sale” sign from the owner’s property.  The association appealed the trial court’s decision to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial judge’s ruling, stating the provisions of the Planned Communities Act regarding “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs trump any contrary provision in the association’s governing documents.

The Court of Appeals reviewed §33-1808 of the Arizona Planned Communities Act in this case; however, there is a similar provision in the Condominium Act [§33-1261], so it is important that both Condominiums and Planned Communities adhere to the following:

Notwithstanding any provision in the community documents, an association shall not prohibit or charge a fee for the use of, placement of or the indoor or outdoor display of a for sale, for rent or for lease sign and a sign rider by an association member on that member’s property in any combination, including a sign that indicates the member is offering the property for sale by owner.

The size of a sign offering a property for sale, for rent or for lease shall be in conformance with the industry standard size sign, which shall not exceed eighteen by twenty-four inches, and the industry standard size sign rider, which shall not exceed six by twenty-four inches.

The signs must be commercially produced– an association may prohibit the use of signs that are not commercially produced.

Written by: Carolyn B. Goldschmidt
October 2013