Your Right to Fly the American Flag – HOA and Condos

May 28th, 2016

Many people live in subdivisions that are governed by a Homeowner’s Association, HOA, or in condominiums, condos, that are governed by Condominium Associations. Both must pay fees and abide by the rules of the association. Those rules, generally called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions by HOAs and bylaws by Condominium Associations, can restrict the display of flags on the outside of residences.




The “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005” makes it illegal for HOAs and other associations to prohibit the display of the American flag by its members. That Act protects citizens First Amendment right to free speech.


Associations can, however, restrict the place, time, and manner that the flag is displayed. For example, flag size, lighting, flagpole characteristics, and time or days that it can be displayed. They are allowed to put those restrictions in place when it has a substantial interest in protecting homeowners from danger (such as old, unstable flagpoles) or restricts the view of neighbors. Their goal could be to avoid complaints about the noise that some displays make when the wind blows (the thumping and clanking of metal against metal), tattered flags, and improper illumination. In addition, holes drilled on the outside of condo units for house mounted flag displays could result in water damage issues in the building.




There are also laws in many states that prevent HOAs from banning other types of flags. For example, state flags, Native American flags, etc.


Before displaying your American flag, it would be wise to read your association rules and check your state laws that govern HOAs and flags. If you believe that your HOA or Condominium Association is breaking the law with a flag ban or restriction, you may want to contact an attorney to find out what recourse you have against the them.


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