Have you ever noticed Christmas decorations still hanging around while you’re marching down the street in the July 4th parade? Or have half of the lights burned out in your neighbor’s menorah perhaps because your calendar says it’s June? Decorations have a shelf life. Sometimes the expiration date is determined by your HOA.
When you live in a neighborhood or community that is controlled by a Home Owner’s Association, there are rules that everyone is supposed to follow. There may also be laws or ordinances that apply to holiday decorations. It’s important that you know both the rules and local laws before putting up holiday decorations. And scheduling to take them down.
So what will the HOA do if you don’t adhere to the decoration requirement? The first, safest and most accurate answer is: the HOA can do whatever its rules allow or mandate. If the HOA is very relaxed and doesn’t flex its collective muscle, they may do nothing. You may simply receive a letter or request to remove the decorations. If the HOA is very strict and the rules allow, they may charge a fine.
If you’re new to the community, ask the neighbors. They can tell you how strict the Association has been in the past. Of course, it’s best to respect and follow the rules. That said, an HOA will sometimes be lenient if severe weather conditions have delayed the majority of residents from removing their decorations. Simply not lighting them until the weather improves can also reduce the risk of a citation. Beware; freezing temperatures alone do no constitute severe weather. A blizzard with several feet of snow will probably buy you a few days.
The rules and requirements in an HOA are meant to protect property values. Consistency and uniformity help to increase values. The job of the Board of Managers is to set and enforce rules which help ensure the best combination of freedom and conformity. If owners wish to have a louder voice in the direction of the community, interested residents can always seek a position on the Board.
Enjoy your decorations, while they’re in season. And have fun taking them down, when the time is right.
Thanks for reading.