Monday, August 12, 2013

Free speech on lawns

On first blush, the case of Peter and Peg Jasinski of Queensbury seems straightforward. The Jasinkis voluntarily bought a house in the Hudson Pointe development, where a homeowners association sets rules all homeowners must agree to follow. One of those rules bans the public display of signs in windows or on lawns or doors or anywhere else on the property.

The Jasinkis didn’t have to buy the house, and if they objected to the association’s rules, they could have gone elsewhere. Most neighborhoods in Queensbury don’t ban political signs, which is what the Jasinkis have been periodically planting in front of their house.

In June, the New Jersey Supreme Court (the top court in New Jersey) decided a homeowners association rule banning the display of political signs “violates the free speech clause of the State Constitution.”

It didn’t matter the homeowner, Wasim Khan, voluntarily bought his house within the development and agreed to the rules of the Mazdabrook Commons Homeowners’ Association. Since those rules were unconstitutional in New Jersey, he was under no obligation to follow them.

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Ladue vs. Gilleo that a ban on lawn and home signs in Ladue, Mo., was unconstitutional. That case involved a municipality, not a homeowners association



Dean said...

This article highlights the reason we don't intend to buy a home in an HOA controlled area. It seems most HOA's are run by people intent on forcing everyone to live by their aesthetic values, ruling everything from the color one can paint their house to the type and placement of plants in their yard.

Anonymous said...

Most HOAs are set up by the developer of the neighborhood and use an existing set of rules which were evidently created by tinpot tyrant.

Once the builder put's in into the hands of a real HOA they need to start by reviewing the rules and culling them down the ones that make sense. However a lot of HOAs just keep that ridiculous set of rules and worse yet try to enforce them.

I live in a condo with a HOA, they are quite reasonable and we've almost never had to ask someone to stop doing something.

Anonymous said...

don't like it, change the channel...

Anonymous said...

@3:13 - damned right are you