There is no better time than the holidays for a community to come together and celebrate. For most homeowners, they see this festive season as an opportunity to put their holiday spirit on full display. By the time they’ve finished their turkey on Thanksgiving, they are likely already itching to pull their lights and decorations out of storage.
An HOA has the vital task of ensuring that its community has a safe and inclusive holiday season. To achieve that, most HOAs will set rules and regulations regarding holiday decorations and displays. When setting these rules, it’s important to keep in mind any potential concerns, like discrimination claims and safety hazards, to avoid any issues that could quickly snowball out of control.
The six tips below will help guide you on setting holiday decoration rules and regulations for your community:
- Keep it inclusive: Under the Fair Housing Act, decorations should not appear to favor one religion over another. To help avoid any discrimination claims in your community, keep that rule in mind when setting regulations for your community and when decorating common areas. Also be mindful that certain color schemes are often associated with certain religions. Avoiding color themes or labeling can help avoid any misunderstanding. When decorating common areas, it’s best to use general decorations that don’t favor one religion over another.
- Keep it safe: To avoid potential safety hazards, it’s best practice to set regulations when it comes to certain holiday displays. For inflatables or 3-D décor, you can regulate the size of these displays and how they are anchored to the ground, to ensure that they are both non-disruptive and secure. If you live in a dry climate, then fire hazards could pose another potential issue. Having trees, bushes, and hedges trimmed before stringing up lights can help avoid any potential fire risk.
- Keep it timely: With holiday displays growing more elaborate each year, it’s best to set a schedule for when noise-emitting decorations and lights can be turned on or active. A daily schedule with reasonable hours will help ensure that the community is able to get plenty of rest for their holiday activities. Light timers or outlet timers are useful tools for helping homeowners meet their dark hour curfew.
- Keep it pleasant: With noise-emitting decorations in mind, there is a chance that some of these decorations can quickly become an annoyance to neighbors. Loud noises and bright or flashing lights could quickly become a disturbance, so an HOA should consider implementing rules for regulating this type of décor to help keep the peace.
- Keep it within the season: In addition to a daily schedule, it can also be beneficial to set a schedule for how early outdoor decorations can be introduced each year and how quickly they need to be taken down once the holiday has ended.
- Keep it clear: Once you’ve set up your rules and regulations for your community, it’s best to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Sending out notifications and reminders to homeowners throughout the season can help avoid any confusion.
Setting rules and regulations aren’t for the purpose of dampening anyone’s holiday spirit, rather they’re meant to ensure that all members can have a safe and peaceful holiday. Going into the winter season prepared will not only help an HOA navigate the busiest, most festive time of year, but it also helped maintain order while keeping the community’s standards upheld.
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