Do you have a homeowner who tends to go overboard with their holiday or other decorations? And though “tis the season”, we’re not just referring to holiday decorations here – what about those major team sports enthusiasts, or the garden lovers and their myriad of gnomes or fairies?

Does your HOA have some reasonable and easy to follow rules? And just what does “reasonable” mean anyway?

When developing rule policies, it is best to work backward. For instance, focus on achieving an acceptable end result – the reasonable rules your association wants to achieve. Beginning with the end in mind will often preclude having to deal with over the top and extreme violation occurrences.

How to Develop Your HOA Holiday Decoration Guidelines

Use these easy to follow tips to guide your decision making regarding creating yard decoration rules.

  1. Set up a time frame
  • Identify when holiday lights can be put up and must be taken down, such as no sooner than 30 days before the holiday and no later than two weeks afterward.
  • Develop a sports game day or playoff tournament strategy. For instance, allow decorations and flags on game days only. Stipulate that decorations and signage be removed within a 24 hour period.
  1. Set up a scope
  • Some associations allow only a certain length of lights, such as 200 total feet of lighting.
  • Identify the spaces on which lights may be hung, such as along the roof line, front door, front windows, and one tree in the front yard.
  • Try to restrict roof-anchored displays, such as inflatable Santa’s and reindeer.
  • Set up sound restrictions, ban all sound elements or allow them only during certain hours, say from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. so that neighbors don’t complain about being bombarded with holiday music while they’re trying to sleep.
  • Ask that spotlights not shine in neighbor’s windows.
  1. Reserve HOA Rights
  • Define what’s over-the-top before owners go there.
  • Include the right for your architectural review committee to approve (or disapprove) holiday displays that are not on the approved list.
  • You can ask for the decorative elements to be modified or removed if an ARC request was not made to help avoid hard feelings.

Rinaldo Acri CEO of Acri Community Realty Says:

Choose your battles wisely. Everyone has differing opinions regarding tasteful holiday decorations. Although it is important to maintain the integrity of the look and feel of your community, it is also wise to embrace the spirit of good will knowing full well that keeping the peace is oftentimes the best policy of all.”

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