Having a Merry and Bright Holiday Season in Your HOA or COA
By: Amanda Noelle Laber, Esq.
The holiday season is upon us. As you string up lights, trim the tree, put candles in the windows and start baking up a storm for your annual holiday party, there are a few things you should keep in mind to have a peaceful (yet festive) season.
Deck the Halls: We've all seen those extreme Christmas displays on television, but keep in mind that your association may have specific rules regarding holiday decorations. For instance, your association may be able to tell you: (1) when you may have a holiday display (for instance, from Thanksgiving until January 15th) and (2) what types of decorations you can use (including standards for holiday lights). Make sure your festive display is compliant with association rules to make your season a little brighter.
The More the Merrier: It's always easy to tell when someone is having a holiday party by the number of cars parked outside his or her home. Keep in mind that your association probably has parking regulations, including where guests may park and at what times guests may park. For instance, guests may only be allowed to park in the street until 12:00 a.m, and may not be permitted to park in yards. Additionally, it's important to make sure your holiday guests aren't blocking driveways or sidewalks. You might want to consider inviting your neighbors to the party, since they know you're having one anyway!
Bah Humbug: If your association doesn't have specific holiday regulations, many potential issues may be lumped under the “nuisance” category. Generally, homeowners cannot do anything that annoys and interferes with their neighbors' silent night. Lights, parking, caroling, and good old Uncle Dave may all fall into this category. It's also important to keep in mind that you aren't just responsible for your conduct. Most governing documents make the owner responsible for children and, importantly, guests. If you make sure everyone else is following the rules, you'll have much less to stress about as you try to remember who else you need to buy a gift for.
If you haven't checked them out lately, brush up on your governing documents just to make sure your association won't be giving you a lump of coal (or a violation letter) this holiday season.