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Dealing with HOA rules during the holiday season

As the holidays approach, homeowners in Orange County may begin thinking about their holiday decor and how they would like to adorn their homes with lights, garlands and more. However, when they are part of a homeowners' association, there may be some restrictions and limitations on what they can do to show off their Halloween frights, Christmas delights or New Year's cheer.

People in condominiums and cooperatives with HOAs have generally agreed to a series of rules and covenants established by the association's board. In some cases, these include regulations for exterior decorations, the type of lighting allowed and even how long decor items can remain visible. Some of the most common regulations address the length of time after the holiday that items can remain up or prohibit items that could be perceived as offensive. Some HOAs may restrict string lights to white or yellow only, while other associations may seek to ban large, inflatable lawn items. Of course, the HOA itself can also opt to take on holiday decorations; some boards may decorate common areas run by the association.

It can be important for people who live in neighborhoods with HOAs to go over the rules before investing in elaborate decor. In addition, the board also decides how strictly it polices decor and enforces the policies on the books. In some cases, a company may be contracted to go around and look for violations, while in other cases, boards rely on neighbor complaints.

Disputes can arise when neighbors interpret the same rules in different manners, or when some HOA regulations appear to infringe on property owners' rights. When a homeowner is facing problems from their HOA board, they can consult with a lawyer about the situation. An attorney can advocate for the homeowner and work to find a positive solution to HOA disputes.

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