Is door-to-door solicitation allowed in Kettering?


No Soliciting Sign - Lee Torrens via Deposit Photos

Kettering, Ohio – On Sunday evening a Facebook user posted in the Everything Kettering Facebook group a warning that a door-to-door solicitor was knocking on doors in the Van Buren Apartment complex. Users expressed concern about this given that it was dark out.

Some users even went as far as to say that residents should call the Kettering Police because permits are required for door-to-door solicitation within Kettering. Many were fearful that those knocking on doors could be a criminal element and stated that they simply don’t answer the door if it's someone they don’t recognize.

All this led to the question, Is door-to-door solicitation allowed in Kettering? The Kettering Sentinel reached out to the City of Kettering and the Kettering Police Department (KPD) to find out their position on the issue.

The City’s website states “Door to door solicitation is permitted in the City of Kettering,” There was no indication on the City’s website that a permit is required for door-to-door solicitation.

KPD confirmed that door-to-door solicitation is permitted in Kettering and that no permit is required. KPD also confirmed that while they ask solicitors to notify the department in advance of their activities as a courtesy, no prior notification to the City is required by law.

This policy appears to be consistent with the United States Supreme Court’s tendency to strike down under the First Amendment permit regulations that constitute an unwarranted “prior restraint” on commercial speech.

However, KPD says that Kettering residents do have some options. KPD says that residents can put up a No Solicitation sign. If the proper sign is in place commercial solicitors who ignore the sign and knock on your door can be charged with Misdemeanor Peddling under Kettering Codified Ordinance §642.10(a)(5). Misdemeanor Peddling is an unclassified misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $1000.

For a solicitor to be guilty of Misdemeanor Peddling under Section 642.10(a)(5) not just any No Soliciting sign can be used. Section 642.10(a)(5) specifically states that signs must meet the requirements of §642.10(f). This section says that residents wishing to limit solicitations should use a weather-proof card, decal, or sign not less than three inches by four inches in size that is not more than one square foot in total surface area. The sign must be displayed on or near the main entrance door t the residence or place of business. The sign must contain the words “no peddlers” or “no solicitors”, or other similar language conveying the same message. The words on the sign must be at least one-third of an inch in height. KPD says that the City can provide signs/window clings that comply with the requirements of §642.10(f). KPD says that the signs/window clings are available through the City Manager's Office. You can reach the City Manager's Office at 937-296-2412 or at In addition, during regular business hours, you may also be able to obtain signs/window clings from the Kettering Government Center Information Window at 3600 Shroyer Road.

Residents should keep in mind that §§642.10(a)(5) and 642.10(f) only apply to commercial solicitations. Given the definition of “Peddler”, Peddling”, Solicitor”, and “Soliciting” §642.10(e) these sections cannot be used in relation to charities and political campaigns conducting door to door activities. This is likely because charities and political campaigns have typically been granted greater First Amendment free speech protections under the U.S. Constitution.

KPD says that a second option is to advise those who come to your door to solicit that you are not interested and ask them to leave your property immediately. If the individuals do not leave when requested, they might be guilty of trespassing.

KPD says that a little common sense can go a long way to protect yourself if someone you don’t know comes to your door. If the person looks or feels wrong, trust your instincts and don’t answer the door. KPD says that, although not required by law, in their experience legitimate commercial solicitors will carry and will show upon request ID when soliciting. KPD says that if you are concerned about the activities of door-to-door solicitors, particularly if you feel that your safety is in danger, you can call 911 for assistance. KPD will typically treat these incidents as a “suspicious person” call and will typically send an officer out to investigate.

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