When Should I Use a Lawyer for Billboard Law?


Billboard advertising has come a long way over the years. While it competes with other types of popular media, it has unique advantages and can be very effective. As good as this all sounds, dealing with the legal issues involved with this area of law can be complicated.

Many years ago, billboards were largely unregulated and just about anyone could put one up with little legal involvement. That all changed with the creation of the Highway Beautification Act (“HBA”). The HBA conditioned federal highway funds upon state regulation of outdoor advertising. Most states, including California, entered into agreements with the federal government to do so.

This created a complex area of law, which can include a fair amount of red tape, depending on the transaction involved. State and local governments now have the ability to create and enforce their own laws with respect to outdoor advertising. It also means that these local laws can be more stringent than the federal law. Because of this, there are multiple entities involved when it comes to billboard transactions, permitting, licensing and enforcement.

Real Estate Transactions

If you are buying or selling a property with a billboard involved, it’s important to be aware of the unique issues that can present themselves. Questions can arise related to zoning, eminent domain, and use restrictions to name a few. It is important to have your transaction reviewed by a lawyer that is familiar with these issues.


Billboard leases vary in length and complexity. It is crucial to ensure that the terms of the agreement are fair and mutually beneficial to the parties and to ensure that the agreement is in keeping with state and local laws.

Permitting and Licensing

The California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”) licenses billboard operators and is responsible for state regulations and licensing. Cities and counties are allowed to adopt even stricter regulations. The process can be complicated depending on the situation. We can help you to navigate the permitting and licensing process.

Come Talk to Us

Over the years, we have helped clients to:

  • Confirm their ownership of the billboard
  • Confirm their interpretation of their lease
  • Confirm and draft easement rights
  • Get fair compensation for billboards taken by eminent domain
  • Get fair compensation for billboards when the government denied any obligation to pay
  • Resolve licensing and permitting issues

Conclusion: Billboard law can create countless legal issues that can include ownership, use, control, leasing and permitting and licensing. We have been practicing in this industry since 1985 and are uniquely qualified to assist you. If you are dealing with a billboard question, come talk to us or hit Reply to schedule a Get Acquainted Call. We are here to help.