AgentMarketing

Could the Supreme Court put an end to open house signs?

Realtors must act quickly to save them
  • A recent Supreme Court ruling threatens agents' ability to display open house signs.
  • Municipalities will be reviewing sign codes and may remove real estate exemptions for expediency.
  • The ruling allows exemptions for compelling state interests, and real estate signage has been cited as supporting Fair Housing laws.

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Open house signs dot the sidewalks on a weekend morning -- it's a sight of familiarity for our clients and our businesses. Based on a recent legal ruling, those signs might disappear in short order. That's unless Realtor associations nationwide step up quickly to help their local governments identify the language in the ruling that supports open house sign exemptions in sign codes. The town of Gilbert, Arizona, recently took a sign code case all the way to the Supreme Court. The town's ability to regulate the content and manner in which temporary directional signs are displayed is at issue. The Supreme Court ruling In short, the court ruled that any sign regulation must be content-neutral so as not to deny free speech. A city can impose restrictions on size, type and placement of a sign -- but not the message. If a city employee has to read the sign to determine whether it complies with municipal regulations, then the regulations are not content-neutral. Therefore,...