‘Tis the season for holiday festivities and Christmas decoration—a time of the year that is cherished by some homeowners, merely tolerated by others, and sometimes dreaded by members of the HOA board. The reason why some association board members dread the holiday season is that, in some areas, it can cause some tension over what is and is now allowed, holiday decoration -wise, under the community’s rules and covenants.
Indeed, most community associations have some written guidelines in place that spell out what homeowners are and are not allowed to do in terms of the decoration and upkeep of their property. These rules and regulations are not meant to squash anyone’s good time or diminish holiday glee; rather, they are meant to ensure that a basic aesthetic is maintained throughout the community.
So what is a member of the HOA board to do, when one homeowner either violates these rules or else speaks out against them? One course of action is to gently remind homeowners of why these rules are in order. The HOA exists to preserve the value of properties throughout the community, and maintaining a uniform, neat, tasteful aesthetic goes a long way toward doing just that.
It might also help to remind community members that they themselves have a say in community regulations, through voting and community conversation. The HOA board does not dictate policy, but simply enforces it—and again, it is all for the overall benefit of the community in general.
Finally, HOA boards might remember that, during the holidays, a little bit of leeway, in terms of home décor, is perfectly acceptable, and indeed, it might sometimes be the best way to keep everyone’s spirits high during the holiday season. Simply remember the importance of fairness and consistency; the biggest mistake an HOA can make is to hold different homeowners to different standards!
Maintain open lines of communication with all residents, and you may find that this holiday decorating season goes off without a hitch.