Sunday, November 4, 2012

Does your community prohibit solicitation?

Most of us think we know what is meant by those signs that have the word Solicitation with a red slash through it but do we really all see that sign through the same prism?

The dicitionary defines solicitation, in part, as: to make a request, application, or entreaty to (a person for business, support, etc)

Many associations do have a rule prohibiting solicitations but what is the basis for such a rule? Ostensibly it would be to protect privacy in members' homes, mailboxes and other personal property such as your car's windshield. Perhaps another goal is to enhance security in the community by deterring outside vendors from entering for the purpose of solicitation. What about your neighbors or vendors already inside the community who might take the opportunity to announce their business or to seek your support on an issue?

Are there other purposes for a comprehensive non-solicitation rule though that aren't as useful or innocent as the goals outlined above? There are many types of solicitation that occur in a community association setting. The following are just some that I have seen firsthand:

Girl scouts selling cookies

Jehovah's witnesses "selling" their ideas

Invitations in my mailbox to a jewelry party being hosted by a neighbor

Flyers on my car for window tinting, car detailing and pizza delivery

Recall committee members soliciting my vote

Neighbors collecting proxies for an upcoming election (I live in an HOA)

Schoolchildren selling holiday wrapping paper as part of a fundraiser

Neighbors trying to sell their homes via a flyer as opposed to hiring a broker

Non-solicitation rules raise several important questions. Should there be a distinction between outside solicitors and solicitors who live in the community? Should there be a distinction between types of solicitation? Should solicitation be allowed when it is in being done to support a charity or school or other "good idea"? Do any boards try to use the non-solicitation rule to stop people from mounting a challenge against the board?

If your community wishes to make some distinctions between what constitutes solicitation and what behavior will be tolerated and what will not, the more specific the rule the better. Enforcing a generic rule in an arbitrary or less than uniform manner will undoubtedly subject the board to challenge as well as frustrate the goals that led to the rule in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. It's really a good idea to have a restriction about solicitation because it will protect and secure the home owners. All of information above is the negative images of soliciting, but is there any good thing about it?

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