Stars and Stripes: Can An HOA Set Rules On Displaying American Flags?

It’s that time of year again when American flags are displayed all over town in honor of our nation’s birthday. If you live in a planned community, you may be wondering if your homeowner’s association prohibits residents from flying the American flag.

Generally speaking, HOA board members would be out of line to prohibit homeowners from displaying the American flag. In fact, the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005” says that it’s illegal for a homeowner’s association to restrict residents from flying a United States flag.

Can an HOA establish rules for displaying American flags?

An HOA can, however, establish a set of rules for displaying American flags to protect a substantial interest of the association. For example, if an American flag is displayed in such a way that it could be a danger to other residents (i.e.: hanging from a rickety flag pole that sits over a public sidewalk), HOA board members may be able to have the resident relocate the flag. Another example that could merit an HOA to prohibit flying the American flag is if the flag is so large that it blocks another neighbor’s view.

What are the Florida state laws for flying American flags in an HOA community?

It’s important to determine if there are any federal or state laws that prohibit flying certain types of flags. Since we partner with residential communities in Florida, we’re well-versed with the types of flags that residents in Florida HOA communities are allowed to fly.

In the state of Florida, residents in HOA communities are allowed to display one official United States flag no larger than 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet in a respectful manner. A second flag of equal or smaller size to the American flag may be displayed assuming that it’s one of the following flags: United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or a POW-MIA flag.

What if a resident wants to fly a flag that is not protected by Florida state laws?

In the event that a resident in your community wants to fly a flag that is not protected by Florida state laws, the resident should confirm that the HOA will allow it. HOA board members should consult governing documents (articles of incorporation, bylaws, etc) to see if there are any provisions that would ban residents from flying flags not protected by Florida state laws.

Generally, most HOAs don’t outright ban flags. Instead, HOA board members may find covenants that restrict the size, type, or location of the flag.

Because we live in a time where there may be some questions about displaying American flags and other types of flags in an HOA community, it’s important that you have a knowledgeable partner on your to side best advise HOA board members.

Vesta Property Solutions offers more than 25 years of experience in Florida property management and can serve as an invaluable partner to your HOA community. Contact us to learn more about the benefits that we provide to homeowner and condominium associations in Florida.

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