What can you do as an Association to prevent solicitation in your community? Many people start with posting “No Soliciting” signs on their property, but what does that do, and what legal rights do you have to enforce it?
Solicitation laws are handled at a municipal level, and therefore the laws on how to handle a solicitor can vary from county to county. Here we will discuss the law as it pertains to Prince William and Fauquier Counties as those are the places we manage the most communities.
There are some similarities to the law in these two counties, for example, both counties define a solicitor as “someone travelling from house to house, selling or attempting to sell any goods, services, or accepting orders for future goods or services, or to accept or request donations for a charitable purpose.” Both counties require those soliciting door to door obtain a permit and carry it with them to exhibit to any resident. Additionally, both counties prohibit door-to-door activity from one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, unless done so by appointment. Door to door activity, not restricted by the same guidelines (true for both counties) and not considered a solicitor would be:
- Sales related to fresh farm products and newspapers.
- Political party or candidate activity.
- Charitable, educational or religious activity.
Now that we have discussed who and what a solicitor is, what can you do about it?
In Prince William County, a “No Soliciting” sign is not enforceable, however, a properly placed “No Trespassing” sign is, even if the solicitor is permitted by the county. Additionally, a “No Trespassing” sign at the entrance of community with private streets (those not maintained by VDOT) can be enforced. If someone disregards these signs, contact the police department, as violators risk losing their license and could be charged with Trespassing.
In Fauquier County, a “No Soliciting” sign placed on your property is enforceable. However, not so if placed at the entrance of your community, as it is the homeowner’s individual right to refuse or permit solicitors on their property. If you encounter someone attempting to solicit at your home, despite the proper signage, contact the police. They will escort them off the property and violator could lose their license and face Trespassing charges.
We hope we addressed your concerns about Door- to- Door Solicitors. If you have any specific questions regarding solicitation laws, please contact your local jurisdiction.