Hanging an American flag is a great way to show patriotism and love for your country, but it can also cause problems. If your homeowners association (HOA) is getting on your case because you are flying an American flag in your yard, you might wonder what you can do to keep this right. While HOAs have the right to impose rules and restrictions on homeowners, you might be able to fight this one. Your best bet in winning involves hiring a real estate attorney for help. Here are the two main steps your attorney may take to help you win.
Examine the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
Every HOA has covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), which are a set of rules and guidelines for the neighborhood. Anyone that purchases a house within the HOA must abide by these rules, and your attorney will clearly read over them to determine if they state that you cannot display a flag.
If the CC&Rs do not state clearly that you cannot hang an American flag, the attorney may send a formal letter to the HOA stating your position and requesting that the HOA follow the terms in the CC&Rs by allowing you to hang your flag. If the CC&Rs do state you cannot hang an American flag, your lawyer might choose to use a second option to help you obtain the right to display a flag in your yard.
Exercise the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act
In 2005, the government passed a law called the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. This act was specifically created to give rights to homeowners living in multifamily homes within an HOA. It states that HOAs cannot take away the rights people have to display flags in their yards. In other words, when an HOA makes a rule that homeowners cannot do this, they are actually violating this law.
When attorneys bring up this law against HOAs, the HOAs often resort to the second part of the act, which gives them the right to make reasonable restrictions. The problem with this is that the words "reasonable restrictions" are not clearly defined. Because of this, the HOA might agree to allow it at certain times, but they might not allow it at other times.
If you have an issue with a flag or any type of issue with your HOA, you may want to hire a real estate attorney to assist you with keeping the rights you are entitled to.
For professional legal help, contact a law firm such as Valentine & Valentine PC.