California HOA removes yard signs congratulating 2020 graduates

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. — Rules are rules, according to a homeowner’s association in California. That means signs heralding a high school senior’s graduation in a common area is not allowed.

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Mirasol, a townhome community in Mission Viejo, apparently removed several signs of graduating students, KCAL reported.

Sofia Muratella, a senior at Santa Margarita High School, said this should be an exciting time, even though this year’s school term has been held under unusual circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. Signs were a way to end the school year with a flourish.

“We put it up and we’re so excited. You walk around your neighborhood and get excited to see which school each of the seniors are from." Muratella told KCAL. "There’s fifth graders graduating from elementary school and the eighth graders.”

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the television station his son’s school sign is missing from their front yard. During a virtual HOA meeting Monday night, the man’s wife asked about the signs. A board member admitted that the signs were taken down because their placement in a common area violated HOA rules, the homeowner told KCAL.

“They either walked around and took them down or had the security company do it,” the man said.

According to Mirasol’s Community Association rules, which were last revised in 2018, U.S. flags are allowed on common ground. But according to Rule 14A, “No other flags or banners of any kind are permitted in the common area.”

Under the section listing regulations for the pool and other common areas, Rule 10 allows “trash containers, U.S. Flags, a for sale or for lease sign, pods, holiday decorations and air conditioner units.”

Muratella is confused by the HOA’s actions.

“I don’t really see how this bothers anyone,” Muratella told KCAL. “It’s not like politically biased. It doesn’t harm anyone. ... it doesn’t make sense.”

“The Board of Directors has no comment on this matter other than to say that the signs will be returned to the respective owners upon request," Mirasol’s property manager told the television station.