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HOA angers residents with flag display restrictions

Many property owners in California understand the power that homeowners' associations wield over their residents. Flags have now become a bone of contention, joining such problems as lawn ornaments and vehicles parked in driveways. A man in one community in Georgia claims that his association is treating the display of U.S. flags like they are Christmas decorations. Veterans within the community have been vociferous about their complaints after an email outlined the restrictions that limited flying U.S. flags to only 23 days in the year.

In this particular community, the flag can only be placed on a bracket attached to the house, said one resident. He maintained that he should have the right to fly the country's flag whenever he wishes.

The Freedom to Display The American Flag Act of 2005 actually bars homeowners' associations from denying residents the right to fly the flag. The fine print, however, enables associations to restrict the placement and timing of flag displays. The two veterans angered by the community's rules insisted that they would not take down their flags.

Disputes between residents and homeowners' associations often arise from vague language in a community's bylaws or violations of existing local, state or federal laws. A person engaged in an HOA dispute could consult an attorney familiar with real estate issues. An attorney could research properly laws, zoning or community regulations and propose strategies for supporting the person. An attorney might achieve a compromise through negotiation or challenge the infringement of the client's rights in court.

Source: Opposing Views, "Veteran Angry With HOA American Flag Rules", Michael Doherty, May 25, 2017

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