FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – While homeowners associations (HOAs) cannot stop residents from displaying political signs in their yards, they are able to regulate how many, the size, and where the signs are placed.
“Covenants for each association [typically] only allow signs like for sale signs, or if there’s construction going on with the home, they’ll allow a contractor sign,” said Sandra Montes, the Community Manager at Above and Beyond, which oversees over 30 HOAs.
However, the Indiana state code allows political signs to be placed in people’s yards 30 days prior to an election and five days after the election.
Although each HOA has the freedom to set it’s own set of restrictions, “the majority of HOAs are allowing one sign per yard and they’re keeping it to like five-square feet, which is usually how big a for sale sign is,” Montes said.
Montes adds that some associations regulate what color a sign is as well.
These regulations impact a significant number of Fort Wayne residents as there are over 500 HOAs in the area, according to Montes.
A big reason for these restrictions is in an attempt to “keep the peace” among neighbors.
“Sometimes I think it just brings animosity or tension,” Montes said. “Without these signs people don’t have to worry about what the other is thinking view or someone across the street.”
However, some people have found ways to work around the rules to display their political beliefs.
“Most say that only the state flag or the U.S. flag is allowed to hang on freestanding flag poles,” said Montes. “So the way that people are kind of getting around it is they’re either hanging these flags on their homes directly on their homes, or they’re hanging like a pole off of their houses.”
This works because, according to Montes, most HOAs are not able limit any “decor” and anything coming from a home is considered a decoration.
“So that is why sometimes you will see flags or posters hanging on people’s houses, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it,” she said.
Consequences for those who don’t follow also depend on each association’s board. These can include warnings or fines.