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Can a Homeowners Association Keep You From Flying the American Flag?

May 27, 2022 / by HOA Manager

american_flag_on_fenceOn Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran's Day and other patriotic holidays, many Americans show respect for their country by raising the star spangled banner or displaying it in some way on their home or in their yard. But can your homeowners association keep you from showing your patriotism and restrict you from displaying the American Flag?

While some homeowners association do have flag restrictions, your right to display the American flag is protected by federal law. The excerpt below explains.

Posted by: HOAleader.com

HOA Rules: What You Must Know About Flag Restrictions

Why do associations even restrict flag displays? Some displays can be noisy or unattractive. Having to listen to a "talking" flag or the thump, thump, thump of a metal chain or rope against a flagpole can be an irritant for neighbors. Also, some people consider tattered flags or lights highlighting flags disrespectful. Finally, holes are often drilled to hold flag displays, and that can create water damage issues. All of those potential problems are sound reasons for associations to provide guidance to homeowners on flag displays.

Before you do, however, make sure you understand the laws governing the issue. Under the federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, no condo, co-op, or homeowner association can restrict its owners from displaying the U.S. flag on their property. But there are exceptions. Associations are permitted to place reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of the display to protect a "substantial" interest of the association. The bottom line? Federal law prevents associations from enacting blanket bans on flag flying but allows restrictions that are reasonable and necessary to protect owners' interests in association property.

You'll also need to research your state's law. Some have passed laws governing homeowners associations' rules on flag displays, while others have left the issue to be resolved between homeowners and their associations. 

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Many homeowners associations don’t ban flags outright, but instead restrict their size, type or location. While your Association can’t ban you from flying the American Flag, it can post restrictions on the way it’s displayed. Read the governing documents of your homeowners association to find out if there are any flag restrictions in your community.

If you’ll be celebrating a patriotic holiday with a backyard barbecue and friends, remember to also refresh your knowledge of the HOA rules when it comes to noise, visitors, and general safety. And don’t forget to a take a moment to express your gratitude to be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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Topics: Living in an HOA, HOA Rules and Regulations