Before you break out the crates filled with holiday cheer or buy that new outdoor-lighted display, you may want to check with your Homeowner’s Association. Whether you rent or own, the HOA’s rules apply to all residents of the community. Read your HOA covenants or check with the Board to make sure your holiday décor is in line with the guidelines.
Why would an HOA restrict or have guidelines for holiday decorations? Each community has a unique aesthetic feel created in part by its governing documents (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions / CC&R). Outdoor decorations can be fifty feet tall or have so many lights that it looks like a sunny day at the beach. When it comes to Christmas décor, we’ve all seen the good, the bad and the ugly—those displays that make you take a second look and say, “What were they thinking!”
Now it becomes a little easier to understand why HOA’s need guidelines for outside decorations.
Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) exist to enforce the rules of the community as established by the governing documents. The Board doesn’t operate on their own—every owner ultimately has input via membership meetings and voting. The rules are set forth in the governing documents, but ultimately it is homeowners that have the power to amend these documents. If you don’t agree with the rules, ask about the process of making amendments to your community’s documents. Be prepared to invest a little effort to make your case. Remember many of these rules enjoy the support of your neighbors who may have chosen their home in part for the protections afforded them by the policies which were in place.
Don’t take it upon yourself to violate the HOA rules. If you do, you may have to pay a hefty fine for the infraction. If you don’t understand the rules, ask. While you can ask a neighbor about the rules, their interpretation of the guidelines may not be accurate. So, we always advise owners to check with the community association management company or your HOA Board.
Many associations offer flexibility in the spirit of the season, so check it out before you decorate. You’ll be glad you did as you celebrate the season.
Wise Property Solutions serves condominium and homeowners associations by addressing their financial, association and facilities management needs. The only certified and licensed community association management firm serving the Mountain South (Virginia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee) with offices in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville.