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New TN law protects your rights to display political signs

A homeowners association in Knox County is admitting it was wrong after telling homeowners to take down political signs. A new state law protects your right to post those signs.

Candidate signs sprouting up from the lawns prove the political season is well underway in Knox County.

The HOA at the Sterchi Hills neighborhood admitted they were wrong when they told homeowners to take down political signs. A new state law protects your right to post those signs.

"Up to about two weeks ago, we were not aware of the apparent new law that allows political signs to be on private property," said HOA President Larry Petrosino.

He said several weeks ago, the HOA sent violation letters to people with political signs on their property.

"Whoever we saw at the time with signs on their lawns were sent violation notices," Petrosino said.

Soon after, the HOA found out they have no policing power when it comes to those signs.

"We sent a notice that we saw several signs so we did send out some notices then we found out a week after that, a law had been passed last year that allows certain signs and political signs to be in private property," Petrosino said.

"The law changed in the great State of Tennessee in July of 2017," said Knoxville Lawyer Dennis Francis.

Francis said the law lays out your rights to display.

"The caption on the statute is, I think it says it all, it's the Tennessee Freedom of Speech Act and it talks about what you can and you cannot do. What you should do and shouldn't do and it's pretty self-explanatory," Francis said.

The law says: A homeowners' association shall not, by covenant, condition, restriction, or rule, prohibit the display of political or campaign posters or signs placed on private property.

"This came about because homeowners associations were putting very restrictive covenants therefore this law was passed in July of last year," he said.

Bottom line, no one can tell you to take down your political sign if it's on your own private property. Petrosino hopes his neighbors understand the miscommunication.

"We are not looking to stir the pot with everyone in the neighborhood and have everyone maintain the values of the homes in the area but abide by the subdivision by laws," he said.

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