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Pending bill would stop HOAs from restricting political speech

Many Californians live in areas that are controlled by homeowners' associations. When they do, they are subjected to the established rules of the associations that control their neighborhoods. Some HOAs have rules that are overly restrictive, and a pending bill would limit the ability of HOAs to place restrictions on the rights of homeowners.

More than 50,000 HOAs exist in California, and many have rules in place that restrict their homeowners from holding candidate forums, putting up signs or meeting to discuss local issues. A bill in the state senate would end the HOA's ability to restrict their residents' freedom of speech and association. SB 407 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and will now be subject to consideration by the entire body.

According to the bill's sponsor, the law is necessary because some HOAs have fined residents and commenced legal actions against them for simply exercising their rights to engage in political speech. In one case in Solano County, a homeowner was given a cease and desist order for inviting a mayoral candidate and his neighbors to an event. In another case in Orange County, an HOA denied opponents of a ballot measure it supported the ability to use a common area for meetings about it.

People who have an HOA dispute might want to consult with real estate attorneys who have experience with these types of matters. The attorneys may be able to negotiate reasonable settlements of the issues without needing to go to court. Legal counsel can advise their clients about their rights and what might be done to reach successful resolutions.

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