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Legal to Post Ads, Flyers on Street Signs, Poles?

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 23, 2011 6:45 AM

Businesses use many different advertising methods, like passing out handbills to pedestrians, or posting ads on public signs or street poles. But is posting flyers legal?

It depends. Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to that question.

Many cities have enacted municipal codes that govern whether or not you can post advertisements. Depending on which city you reside in, it may be legal to post signs on public property.

Local Regulations Differ

San Francisco allows the public to post signs on public property so long as the signs conform to municipal regulations. The city restricts the size of flyers or posters that can be posted on utility or traffic poles. It also limits the number of days the flyer can remain posted.

If you do business in Los Angeles, though, you aren't as lucky. The Los Angeles Municipal Code prohibits posting handbills or signs on street lamp posts, utility posts, street signs and traffic signs.

And, you should probably think twice about posting flyers or posters on residential mailboxes. The U.S. Post Office prohibits hanging, attaching or placing materials that don't bear postage on the outside of mail boxes.

One General Rule

As inconvenient as these regulations may seem, they do serve a purpose: avoiding litter and clutter.

Before your business embarks on an advertising plan that includes posting ads, check your city's local ordinances. Posting flyers may or may not be legal in your city. Better to err on the side of caution rather than risk fines or other penalties.

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