People in California who live in communities governed by homeowners' associations often must comply with certain aesthetic standards. A lengthy battle over a U.S. flag in a flowerpot outside one man's home illustrates the costs that HOA disputes can inflict on a homeowner. The retired Air Force air traffic controller lived in a senior community in another state. He received a letter that called his flag in a flowerpot an unauthorized object. The violation produced a fine of $100 per day unless he removed it.
He refused to comply and eventually filed a lawsuit to assert his perceived right to fly the flag. He believed the issue to be settled in 2012 when the HOA relented, but the association changed its tactics. He said that they created a new flowerpot ordinance and resumed fining him $100 a day. The association also cited him for a Christmas display in a window.
The association subtracted his fines from his monthly association dues. This enabled the association to place a lien on his property for unpaid dues. He sold his home in 2015 to avoid foreclosure.
Because the stakes of an HOA dispute can get very high, a person confronted by this problem might wish to consult an attorney. A legal evaluation of the situation could inform a person about rights and reveal strategies for resolving the problem. An attorney might assert a person's rights by communicating directly with an association or filing a lawsuit to pursue financial damages or halt enforcement actions.
Source: FOX News, "Veteran says he's forced to sell home after HOA fines him for hanging US flag in flower pot", Kathleen Joyce, July 10, 2018