Can Homeowners Fly “Historic” Flags In An HOA?
Homeowners’ associations (HOA) in Florida have the right to regulate almost everything that happens in the association, from assessment payments to what color a homeowner may paint their garage. This extends to the display of flags – more and more nowadays, some homeowners are choosing to display not only the U.S. flag, but also those advertising modern political movements or historical causes. While it may be hard to believe, Florida HOAs have the power to demand that a homeowner take down a flag, and often, to fine anyone who refuses to do so.
Flying Official Flags Is Protected …
The Florida Homeowners’ Association Act permits HOA residents to fly flags in multiple different ways. A homeowner can display one “portable, removable” U.S. flag or flag of the state of Florida, and one “portable, removable” official flag, such as the flag of the U.S. Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, or the POW-MIA flag. They can also fly these flags on an installed flagpole, though the pole may not exceed 20 feet high.
It is important to note that both the Homeowners’ Association Act and the Condominium Act say that flags may be displayed in these ways “regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements” of the HOA or condo board. Flags are considered part of a person’s First Amendment right to express themselves, to the point where SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) lawsuits over flags are discouraged.
… Flying Historic Flags Is Not
These rules on flags and their display are the extent of Florida law’s comments on the subject. What this means is that there is no real statutory right to display any other flag besides those specifically listed in the relevant statute. The HOA Act does not prohibit its display, but nor does it specifically allow these flags to go up.
In general, the deciding vote will come from your HOA’s governing documents and any other restrictive covenants, association bylaws, or conditions established for the association itself. When there is no law explicitly prohibiting a flag’s display, an association will usually permit it unless the flag runs afoul of another proscription – for example, in many areas it is illegal to display flags that might be seen as hate symbols, such as those for Nazi Germany or the Ku Klux Klan. Every case is different.
Contact A Hollywood, FL HOA Attorney
While the display of certain flags may seem to be a minor issue to some, it carries immeasurable weight for many others. If you have questions or concerns about which flags you are permitted to display without running afoul of your HOA, contacting a Hollywood, FL homeowners’ association attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. may be a good idea. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney.