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People use flags as yard decorations. If you drive around any community, you may notice sports team banners and holiday flags. You can shop for telescoping flag poles here if you want a flag for your yard. However, if you reside in planned unit development, your HOA or homeowners’ association can ask you to take down your favorite flag.
In This Post:
Federal and State Laws Protect the Display of Some Flags
Your HOA cannot prohibit you from displaying the national flag, as the Federal Law protects the right to display the US flag. As per the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005,” it is illegal for any HOA to restrict homeowners from displaying the US flag.
However, your HOA can reasonably restrict the manner, place, and time of the flag display, provided these restrictions are to protect the association’s substantial interests. For instance, the HOA can prohibit a US flag on a rickety flagpole that could be dangerous. Also, if you have a large flag that blocks your neighbors’ views, your HOA can ask you to take it down.
Additionally, you should check your state’s laws before hoisting a flag on your property. Some states prevent the HOAs from prohibiting certain other kinds of flags, like the official US military flags, state flags, and Native American flags. State laws will still give the HOAs the right to regulate the size and the location of flags.
Check for Flag Restrictions in the Governing Documents of Your Development
If the state or federal laws do not protect the kind of flag you want to hoist, your governing documents will determine if the HOA can prohibit it or not. These documents include the bylaws and the articles of incorporating your development, Restrictions, and Easements (CC&Rs), Conditions, Declaration of Covenants, and other regulations and rules. To review them, you can ask your HOA to provide you with a copy of these documents. Many developments will restrict the location, type, or size of the flag instead of outright banning it.
Your development might allow you to hoist holiday flags for the period near the relevant holiday. This means that you are free to display a Thanksgiving or Christmas flag when the celebration time is close by. However, a holiday might not always justify your flag hoisting. If your flag does not represent an official federal holiday, your HOA can prohibit it. You may not be able to hoist a rainbow flag on the pride parade day or fly the sports team banner on the day of the big match.
Can Your HOA Prohibit Flags Without Written Restrictions?
Your HOA may have no authority to limit your flag if the development’s governing documents do not state anything about flag displays. You can hire an experienced lawyer to review the development’s governing documents to determine if you can challenge your HOA’s prohibition of your flag.
However, this option requires a considerable investment of your money and time. Before you take this route, you need to evaluate how much worth it is to you.
Could Your HOA’s Flag Ban Be Discriminatory?
If you feel that your HOA’s flag prohibition is discriminatory, you can challenge its action. The Federal Fair Housing Act protects the homeowners from discrimination against national origin, disability, familial status, gender, religion, color, and race. Some state laws might also extend discrimination protection to categories such as sexual orientation, ancestry, and marital status. You may be able to claim discrimination if your HOA has banned the rainbow flag due to the sexual orientation of the flag owner. If your HOA has banned your Native American symbolic flag, you may claim discrimination based on your national origin.
However, it is quite challenging to prove a case of discrimination. Your HOA can claim that the flag ban is only for aesthetic reasons. Even if you cannot prove discrimination, you may still have a legal argument if your HOA has not enforced the flag regulations.
Amending Your HOA’s Anti-Flag Regulations
You can attempt to amend the development’s flag rules if the HOA is appropriately enforcing valid regulations. However, it is difficult to amend a development’s governing documents. For instance, you will usually need all the homeowners’ votes to amend the CC&Rs. You may need the vote of your HOA board of directors to amend the HOA rules and regulations. An experienced lawyer can advise you on the required steps for an amendment.
If your HOA has banned you from installing a flagpole, visit https://atlanticflagpole.com/products/telescoping-flagpole to purchase a telescoping flag pole of your choice.