‘Flag you!’ – and other 4-letter covenant enforcement words

For HOAs, covenant enforcements can be one of the most unpleasant things to deal with. After all, who really looks forward to telling residents they can’t display a flag they are passionate about?

A lot of homeowners know about most covenants they must abide by and are happy to do so but some are, how shall we say it? Less aware and less receptive.

Pia Trigiani, who works as an attorney in Virginia and authored a book on reasonable rules as they pertain to covenant enforcement, said there are some basic covenant enforcements one should understand when it comes to flag displays.

State laws may provide protection to owners who wish to display the American flag.

“Typical language you will hear regarding these protections is that a community association may not prohibit the display of the American flag unless flying the American flag is specifically prohibited by the associations rules and regulations and the regulations are disclosed to an owner at the time they purchase the lot,” she said.

She added that the act permits a community association to establish reasonable restrictions as to the time, size, place, duration, and manner of placement or display of an American flag.

When talking about holiday displays, Trigiani said the same basic rules apply and that limiting or establishing rules about holiday displays must be based on architectural restrictions established in the recorded government documents.

“The challenge is making sure that in restricting holiday displays, an association does not discriminate against anyone,” she said. “Under Fairhousing laws, discrimination against religion is prohibited so rules that apply to one holiday display must apply to all.”

What do you think are reasonable expectations for flying a flag? How would you handle somebody flying what could be considered an offensive flag, like a Confederate flag? As a reminder, Flag Day is tomorrow, June 14.

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