Can a condo association prohibit unit owners from posting signs in the windows of their units? Although many associations throughout New Jersey limit the types of window signs a unit owner can display, a three-judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate division recently ruled that one such provision – banning all signs except those advertising the sale of the unit – was unconstitutional. On September 1, 2010, the panel ruled that the prohibition violated the owner’s free speech rights, and was invalid. (Mazdabrook Commons Homeowners’ Association v. Khan decision). In its opinion, the court ruled that there are instances where even seemingly uniform, neutral rules and regulations might nonetheless amount to invalid restrictions on the free speech rights of unit owners. Because bans like the one at issue in Mazdabrook are common in condo association governing documents, the Appellate Division’s opinion could have a wide-ranging impact, and should likely inspire condo associations to review their by-laws so as not to run afoul of its holding.
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