Flags, Signs and Displays

/ Owner - July 6, 2024

Flags, signs and displays have become major areas of contention in condo’s and HOA’s.  Actually they have always been, but with the divisiveness the country is going through now, it’s become even more of a problem.

The problems start with the developer.  Developers do NOT want to give potential buyers any reason not to get out of their car when driving through the development.  So, most original documents prohibit, or severely limit, all flags, signs or displays.

The U.S. government changed some of that in 2012, by removing the prohibitions about flying the American flag through the “Freedom To Fly The American Flag Act“.  And politicians, in various states, have selfishly passed laws allowing political signs during election cycles.

Some things to consider about these issues:


While you have to allow the American flag to be flown, associations can place some controls over how and when.  My first suggestion is to adopt the United States Code, 2011 Edition Title 4 – FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES CHAPTER 1 – THE FLAG, as part of their rules & regulations (simpler explanationin Wikipedia).  This would prohibit any alterations to the flag (i.e. “black/blue live matter”, flying it upside down, or using it as a decoration).  Setting size and date limits are somewhat flexible (except for specific holidays).  This is easier for condo associations as they usually have total control over the exterior of the buildings and all of the grounds.  Most associations allow a flag holder to be installed on the front door frame and limit the size to what fits or looks good.  I have often made the suggestion that the association install a flagpole near the entrance or clubhouse or other appropriate area.  This would allow them to fly a flag daily ( and it would not have to be taken down if you have it lit at night). This could be dedicated to the veterans who live there or had passed away while living there.  A community effort.

Homeowner associations have different issues and that is with flagpoles.  Many HOA documents prohibit installation of things in the front yard, including flagpoles.  But, for some reason, this is where many people want to install one, so the fight begins.  Short of the legislature jumping in, one of the better solutions is to allow a flag to be attached to the front of the house with a flag holder, and a size limitation, and only allowing flag poles (to a limited height) in a backyard.  Again, it would be good if the association could install a flagpole.


For a long time, only “For Sale” signs were allowed in associations.  Then the political battles started. Somebody was prevented from putting up a “Vote for……………..” in front of their home/unit and, depending on the party in power in their state capitol, would ask the legislature to override the association documents, so they could put the sign up.  If the sign they wanted to put up supported somebody from the governing party, it got passed. The problem is, that no matter what the sign says, it’s going to tick someone off and contribute to the division we are seeing everywhere today.  My opinion is, unless the legislature requires you to allow it, don’t allow any political or cultural issue, signs.  Even signs supporting local schools or charities, could be seen as a doorway for the signs you don’t want.  Before you make exceptions, check with the association’s attorney.


A man is going to the Idaho Supreme Court to override decisions by lower courts, siding with the association, preventing him from putting up a massive Christmas display, that atrtracts thousands of cars and visitors.  This is an extreme, but is can be an issue.  The key item to remember here is that if you allow a Christmas display, you will have to allow displays from owners of other religions.  This is the issue you have to remember, equality and fairness when it comes to rules or regulations.  If you get to put up your display, why can’t another owner put theirs up. When it comes to fairness and exemptions, ALWAYS consult with the association’s attorney before doing anything.

To see more of what’s going on in these areas, check out the categories:


Displays and Signs

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