Agent Fined Nearly $3K for Profuse Signage

June 4, 2018

A real estate professional in Huntington Beach, Calif., was fined $2,750 by the city because he displayed too many open house signs around town, according to officials. Last month, Jerry Del Mauro, a sales associate with RE/MAX Select One, was holding an open house for a $1.4 million listing, which is situated on a desolate street on an island. In order to capture potential buyers’ attention, Del Mauro placed 18 signs advertising the open house along a heavily trafficked street about two miles from the home.

While many cities don’t have limits on public signage, some are restrictive about where signs can be placed and may ban them on sidewalks, curbside grass, and medians. In Huntington Beach, there is no maximum sign limit, but the city stipulates that the number of signs displayed must be “reasonable,” The Orange County Register reports. 

The city fined Del Mauro $250 per sign but later dropped the total fine to $500 after he pushed back. City officials acknowledge that no one had spoken to Del Mauro about his signs before leveling the fine. “I definitely violated the ordinance because of the location of my [listing],” Del Mauro told the Register. “If I used just four signs, you wouldn’t be able to find it. … The rules are good, but you have to have exceptions.”

Del Mauro says he held an open house at his listing prior to putting up the 18 signs. At the time, he used only one sign, which was displayed in front of the property—and nobody showed up. So he decided to put up more signs to get more visitors. Del Mauro and other real estate professionals plan to meet with the City Council to request exceptions to sign ordinances for secluded properties. 

Meanwhile, practitioners are seeing more cities cracking down on signage. “Every city is different, and every city has different rules and regulations,” says Laura Olhasso, government affairs director at the Pasadena-Foothills Association of REALTORS®. “If you’re doing business in several cities, you’ve got to know the rules in that city before you place open house signs.”

Huntington Beach code enforcement supervisor Rich Massi told the Register that the city has been getting complaints from residents about the number of real estate signs on display throughout the town. “A few [agents] … started to blanket the city with open house signs at various locations, which created a nuisance and blight,” Massi says, adding that other agents have received fines ranging from $250 to $3,000.