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Jesus sign prompts neighbors to complain to HOA

Many residents in California are familiar with the restrictions imposed by homeowners' associations. Even decorations that people put up for the holidays can cause disputes. This recently happened in a Pennsylvania community where a husband and wife received a complaint about their Christmas display.

An email from their homeowners' association informed them that neighbors had complained about their sign that said "Jesus." The association asked the couple to remove the sign; although, it did not issue a formal citation. According to the association, the Jesus sign technically violated rules against posting signs in the community.

The homeowners contended that the display was part of their decorations. They had also set up lights and Mickey and Minnie Mouse decorations. The complaints shocked the couple who believe that Christmas is about Jesus. The homeowners plan to keep all of their decorations up until Jan. 15 when the association requires all holiday displays to come down.

An almost limitless number of possibilities could trigger a dispute with a homeowners' association. A person experiencing unfair treatment, such as disapproval for architectural plans that meet guidelines or inconsistent enforcement of covenants, could reach out to an attorney for advice. An attorney familiar with HOA disputes could examine the rules of the organization and strive to protect a client's rights. An attorney could assemble evidence to defend the homeowner's position and present it during mediation, arbitration or in court. Legal advice could empower a homeowner during negotiations with an HOA board and lead to a resolution. If litigation continues to be necessary, an attorney could prepare court filings to pursue a court decision.

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