“Is this the airport, Clark?”: Home Owner's Associations and Holiday Decorations
Your guests have arrived and you’ve just spent that last ten hours Griswolding your home and now you and your company are standing in the front yard ready to bask in the warm glow of a million tiny lights, when your neighbor strolls over and says, “I wouldn’t do that. The homeowner’s association won’t allow it. Oh, and you can’t park there.” What? But you nearly died placing those reindeer on the roof! And where are all these people supposed to park??
Beloved by some, and loathed by others, homeowners associations or HOAs seem to be misunderstood and ubiquitous these days. If you live in a community subject to a homeowners association or are thinking of moving into one that does, it’s a good idea to get a lay of the land before you make your move…or try to clamber up on the roof with those reindeer.
Some things to think about are:
Have you read a copy of the rules and restrictions?
Does the homeowners association require advance notice or written approval for certain activities?
Are there parking restrictions that could lead to trouble for you or your guests?
Are there any limitations about the type of signage or decorations you may display in your yard? Must signs or decorations be approved by the HOA in advance?
Are there any provisions prohibiting special activities in or around your home (i.e., no burning the yule log out back)?
Are you subject to possible fines for non-compliance?
By understanding in advance what sort of things may and may not be allowed, homeowners or potential homeowners can reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and disputes that can arise from some of the activities we are often accustomed to doing without a thought. You can’t always control whether you live next to the Chesters, or the Griswolds for that matter, but you can at least understand your rights