Can you put a political sign anywhere on your property?

A campaign sign is creating controversy, not because of what it says, but where it is placed. The sign is on one person’s property, but it’s blocking another person’s view. Are you allowed to put a political sign anywhere you want on your property? It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Some people like Donald Trump, some people like Joe Biden, and in this Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, a lot of people want you to know who they like.

Sue Chatlos: “A lot of opinionated people in the area, which is good … for the most part.”

Sue and her husband Mark are Biden fans with a ‘Dump Trump’ flag in their backyard above their ‘Dogs Against Trump’ sign. In the front yard, they have an Anybody But Trump sign along with this one supporting Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, science and kindness.

Sue Chatlos: “It’s a very sweet sign. We have people that stop and take pictures of the front of the house because they think it’s great.”

Her next-door neighbor is a Trump fan with a flag in his front yard.

Sue Chatlos: “And I’m fine with it. I’m like, ‘That’s OK. I mean, if that’s the way you lean, then that’s your choice. It’s not my choice, but I respect that choice.'”

But the trouble started in the backyard where Sue and Mark like to sit, relax and look across their neighbor’s yard to watch the boats go by.

Sur Chatlos: “Oh, I love sitting there. It’s wonderful.”

Then their neighbor put up a Trump 2020 sign where they sit and blocked Sue and Mark from seeing the boats go by.

Sue Chatlos: “That property has over 100 feet of waterfront. He could have put it anywhere, but he put it right in front of the chairs.”

This section of the fence is the only part you can see over. The rest of the fence is too tall.

Sue called her neighbor and asked his wife if he would move the sign. No, because…

Sue Chatlos: “And she said to me, ‘Well, I know he was upset because of your degrading signs that you would put up.’ He stewed about it, about our flags, and he found those degrading.”

They say politics is dirty, but this Biden-Trump feud has turned into a backyard battle.

Sue Chatlos: “But just to put it in front of where we sit, I don’t know. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”

Well, Howard, can you put your political sign anywhere you want on your property?

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, you can put it anywhere you want to with one exception. The law that says you cannot put up a sign just to spite your neighbor. You have to have a reason for putting it there, And in this case, Sue’s neighbor can say the people going by in their boat might be influenced by his sign in the upcoming election, and while it might be more visible by the canal, there is no legal requirement to put it there, so he can leave it on the other side of his yard.”

I tried to contact Sue’s neighbor to see if he would move the sign to another part of the yard. He did not return our calls, and it brings up the question, can the sign stay up after the election?

Howard Finkelstein: “In all likelihood, it has to come down because the election is over, and then it’s only there to spite the neighbors, but he could replace it with a Happy New Year sign.”

The sign blocking her view disappoints Sue, but she says nothing will block her on Election Day.

Sue Chatlos: “People have got to get out and vote, and they’ve got to show what they really feel, and that’s my only recourse.”

Vote. Hopefully, everyone will vote. And while most cities don’t regulate political signs because of the Supreme Court ruling, the court did let condo and homeowner associations regulate signs, so before you put one up, check to see if you can, or if you just put it up, your association will let you know if you can.

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Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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