When it comes to neighbor disputes, some people want to resolve it informally; others have no choice but to deal with it. There are also some people who want to put up a sign on their lawn to get an unpleasant message across. If you’re thinking about annoying your neighbor, you’re probably wondering “Can I put a sign in my yard about my neighbor?”
You can absolutely put a sign in your yard about your neighbor without any issues in most cases. However, if you live in a community with a Homeowners Association, this may be considered harassment and you could be fined for violating HOA rules.
Having a bad relationship with your neighbor can be a source of everyday stress. You might feel like the only way to fight back is putting up annoying signs in your yard to make a point. But before you do, let’s discuss whether this is something you should actually do, or if it’s even worth all the effort and anger.
Can I Post a Sign in My Yard About My Neighbor
Feuds with neighbors tend to be a common thing for most people. One way that some homeowners deal with the situation is by putting up signs in the yard. These signs can have any message on it – all for the purpose of annoying a neighbor or getting the message across.
There was a story about a woman who told police and reporters that she had been harassed by neighbors. She ended up putting several signs to inform anyone who might be passing by about the different issues she had with neighbors.
In most cases, putting up signs on the yard about a neighbor is acceptable. It is an individual’s constitutional right to do so. If you are considering this approach however, keep in mind that you still need to know about the laws in your area.
Most Homeowners’ Associations have strict rules regarding putting signs in the yard. A lot of homeowners will also think that putting up signs in the yard will destroy the appeal of the residential area. But when it comes to the law, will you get in trouble? We will explain that bit in the next section.
Can I Get In Trouble By Putting Signs About My Neighbor?
Putting signs about your neighbor generally cannot get you in trouble with the law. Still, this depends on the situation and what kind of signs you’re putting up. For instance, you’ll want to put up a sign that doesn’t name names but somehow provides a hint that it’s about your next-door neighbor. Doing it this way is generally acceptable.
The signs are placed on your property – a private property – so no one can do anything about it. So long as the signs don’t violate city ordinances, don’t contain profanities and are a reasonable size, then you should be able to post it.
Your neighbor might get you reported, but in most cases, the police can’t do anything because it’s not illegal. There are those that have turned to the authorities for help but they will simply dismiss it as a civil case – one that can be resolved by communication, mediation, or a minitrial.
Your neighbor can’t even file a restraining order against you since this doesn’t involve any physical harm. That said, placing signs in your yard might not get you in trouble with the law but you could be sued for harassment or defamation, depending on the nature of your signs.
Can A Neighbor Sue Me If I Put Up Signs In My Yard?
While signs may be on your turf, you can still get sued, especially if you are putting up offensive signs, or perhaps signs that could start rumors about your neighbor.
Consider this scenario: You saw your ill-mannered neighbor hurt your dog, who ended up in his property. Out of anger, you decided to put up a sign cautioning others in the area that he/she is an animal abuser. So you then put up a sign that says, “CAUTION: My Neighbor Is An Animal Abuser,” for example.
This could get others to gossip about your neighbor, putting him/her in a bad light. But since you don’t have proof that your neighbor hurt your pet, you could get sued for defamation or libel. In addition, in most cases, your neighbor does have the right to use reasonable force (not lethal force) against a dog that ended up in his backyard.
Your neighbor can successfully sue you in small claims court and might even get money from the damages caused by your signs, which include emotional distress.
Should I Put Up Signs About My Neighbor?
So, should you go ahead and put up a sign about your neighbor? Is it worth the effort and stress to annoy someone instead of just peacefully settling any disputes?
If you have a Homeowners’ Association, you probably shouldn’t go through with this plan. You could be violating covenants and conditions set by the association. If you don’t have an HOA, you are free to do. Whether you should do it is another question.
Fighting back this way can escalate things and result in more problems with your neighbor, and therefore, more stress. Instead, you should try a more civil approach to the situation and deal with the problem in a mature way.
In the next section, we will give you tips on how you can deal with annoying neighbors.
How Do You Deal With Annoying Neighbors?
Most neighborhood disputes can be resolved with a simple chat over the fence. You could also pay your neighbor a visit and discuss things. You might be surprised that’s all it takes to resolve a dispute that has been ongoing for months or years.
You may also call your neighbor or go to them to schedule an ideal time for you to discuss matters. Once you’re face to face, don’t accuse. Instead, let your neighbor know the issues that bother you. At the same time, hear out your neighbor. Together, you might be able to find solutions to your common problems.
If that doesn’t work, you can get others involved. You might go to your HOA for help on how to deal with a rude neighbor. If not, you can also get other neighbors’ help. You can have some chit-chat with them and try to see if they are also impacted by your neighbor’s behavior.
And if it gets too serious, that’s the time you might want to have mediation experts involved. Civil lawsuits should be your last resort.
Putting up signs is generally acceptable and is not considered illegal. Just make sure you’re not breaking any covenants set by your HOA. If you don’t have an HOA, you won’t be penalized by putting up a sign as long as they are not libelous or defamatory.
You need to decide whether or not putting up a sign hinting about your neighbor is worth it. You can also try to resolve matters informally or accept the fact that you have an unpleasant neighbor and deal with it.