How Your HOA Should Handle Flags
We’ve previously covered how homeowner associations (HOAs) should approach holiday decorations. Considering that we’re now entering the holiday season, how your HOA approaches ghoulish displays and Christmas lights will be as important as ever. But what should be done about a decoration that’s left up year-round and can be just as distracting? Homeowners can become incredibly defensive when it comes to flag displays, even more so than holiday decorations. In this article, the professionals at Wise Property Management, Inc., a Tampa association management company, outline what rules, if any, your HOA should implement with regards to flags.
Stars and Stripes
As we’ll cover below, your HOA can prohibit certain types of flags, but never American flags. Florida law, as well as the congressionally passed Freedom to Display the American Flag Act, protects an individual’s right to display an American flag. Specifically, Florida Statute 720.304 states:
Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful manner, and one portable, removable official flag, in a respectful manner, not larger than 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet, which represents the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or a POW-MIA flag, regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the association.
If a homeowner wishes, they may also erect a flagpole as high as 20 feet on their property to display their U.S. flag. Your HOA should only step in when the flag is of such enormous size that it blocks a neighbor’s view. When it comes to U.S. flags, your HOA should lead by example and encourage community members to display their flags proudly.
Of course, a homeowner’s favorite flag could incorporate any design their heart desires. Flags displaying overflowing cornucopias or witches on broom handles are common sights in the fall. More common are dueling university flags proudly displaying college logos and mascots. When it comes to flags not protected by state or federal law, your HOA should have clear rules listed in the governing documents to ensure that all community members are on the same page. As with many community rules, they are there to ensure that an owner’s actions do not impact their neighbors. You and your fellow HOA board members should be prepared to take action when a flag is unreasonable or displays an offensive image or slogan.
Deciding when to draw the line and take action against flags and decorations is a difficult decision for many HOA board members. After all, these are your neighbors, and they likely meant no harm with their displays. For a Tampa HOA management company that is both fair and consistent with addressing community concerns, partner with Wise Property Management, Inc.
Are you ready to work with one of the top Tampa association management companies that makes life easier for you and your board members and improves the value of your property? If so, submit our proposal request form today!