Generic For Sale and To Let Estate Agent (realtor) signs lined up outside a UK new build housing estate

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

By Paul Cowhig, Advisor, Professional Standards

Real estate signs generate frequent complaints – from members, the public and municipalities alike.

The simple truth is that most of the real estate signs you see are illegal. Period.

Simply said, a sign is advertising, and falls under all the various advertising rules from CREA, the Fraser Valley Board and the Real Estate Council of BC.

All signage is regulated in every municipality. Most signs you see are allowed by ‘permit’ only. In other words, you can’t just put up a sign anywhere. You have to go to the City or Municipal Hall, ask what’s allowed, conform to the by-laws and pay the permit fee.

In real estate we have an exemption from a permit: if you list a home for sale you can have one sign, on the property, up to a certain size. That’s all you are allowed.

Unless you have a permit, every other sign you have out there is offside and you are at risk for fines. That means directional arrows on corners and strapped to telephone poles are not allowed. That means a 4 x 8 on my uncle’s acreage that says, “Buying or Selling call Paul He’s the greatest” is not allowed if you don’t have a permit – and you can’t get a permit for that– so please stop it.

Bus benches are permitted, and that’s why they cost money. It’s a business.

All this to say that, now that we are getting cooperation from the municipalities to report signage violations to the Board each month, the Professional Standards Department will be treating that notification as a formal complaint being registered against that member under the new Rule of Cooperation;

8.01 Advertising – General, “members must ensure that any signage is in compliance with all local government signage regulations.”

Each Municipality is slightly different, and you are expected to be aware of, and comply with those rules.

Below are links to information and guidelines for each city within the Fraser Valley. For more information, call the municipality to find out exactly what you can do to abide by their rules and avoid receiving a fine!

Part Two of Paul’s column on signage is titled Do This, Don’t Do That, Can’t You Read the Sign? February 14, 2019

City of Abbotsford – Click here to read the City of Abbotsford’s Consolidated Sign Bylaw, 2001

City of Delta – Click here to read the Corporation of Delta’s Sign Bylaw No. 5860, 2000

City of Langley – Click here to read the City of Langley’s Sign Bylaw No. 2125

Township of Langley – Click here to read Township of Langley’s Sign Bylaw 2012 No. 4927

District of Mission – Click here to read the City of Mission’s Sign Bylaw guidelines document

City of Surrey – Click here to read Surrey’s guide to signage within the City, or click here to read our NewsReal article with further insight

City of White Rock – Click here to read the City of White Rock’s Bylaw No. 1923