NO MORE FLAG FIGHTS PLEASE!
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published July 1, 2019
In three days
it’s July 4th. Our country’s birthday! USA flags
will be flying everywhere, even in our community associations
and even if the Board in that association says take it down.
Why then are there fights ever year on the news about Boards
attempting to force owners to take the flag down?
The Freedom to Display The American Flag Act of 2005 states:
A condominium association, cooperative association, or
residential real estate management association may not adopt or
enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would
restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying
the flag of the United States on residential property within the
association with respect to which such member has a separate
ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.
This federal law allows the association to make reasonable
restrictions. Florida codified its own law and states:
Any unit owner may display one portable, removable United States
flag in a respectful way and, on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day,
Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, may display in a
respectful way portable, removable official flags, not larger
than 41/2 feet by 6 feet, that represent the United States Army,
Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, regardless of any
declaration rules or requirements dealing with flags or
For homeowner associations:
Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States
flag or official flag of the State of Florida in a respectful
manner, and one portable, removable official flag, in a
respectful manner, not larger than 41/2 feet by 6 feet, which
represents the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine
Corps, or Coast Guard, or a POW-MIA flag, regardless of any
covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the
(b) Any homeowner may erect a freestanding flagpole no more than
20 feet high on any portion of the homeowner’s real property,
regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or
requirements of the association, if the flagpole does not
obstruct sightlines at intersections and is not erected within
or upon an easement. The homeowner may further display in a
respectful manner from that flagpole, regardless of any
covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the
association, one official United States flag, not larger than
41/2 feet by 6 feet, and may additionally display one official
flag of the State of Florida or the United States Army, Navy,
Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, or a POW-MIA flag. Such
additional flag must be equal in size to or smaller than the
United States flag. The flagpole and display are subject to all
building codes, zoning setbacks, and other applicable
governmental regulations, including, but not limited to, noise
and lighting ordinances in the county or municipality in which
the flagpole is erected and all setback and locational criteria
contained in the governing documents.
I go to so many of your meetings. Some of them are in Board
rooms and some of them are in large auditoriums. For the ones
that are held in auditoriums I almost always see the American
Flag displayed. Not only that……. so many of you start your
Board meetings with the pledge of allegiance, even though there
is no requirement that you have to. I for one, love seeing it
and hearing it.
Florida law only requires the American Flag to be displayed in a
publicly supported auditorium and provides as follows:
Florida Statute 256.111:
Each publicly supported and controlled auditorium within a
separate building shall display daily the flag of the United
States upon a suitable flagstaff upon the grounds of the
auditorium except when the weather does not permit such display,
and each publicly supported and controlled auditorium within a
part of a building shall display daily the flag of the United
States inside of the auditorium whenever the auditorium is open.
(2) It is the duty of the person responsible for the
administration of such auditorium to provide a suitable flag and
cause it to be displayed in the manner provided in subsection
(1). If any person willfully causes the flag to fail to be so
displayed, except for the cleaning, repair, or replacement of
such flag, such person is guilty of a noncriminal violation,
punishable as provided in s. 775.083.
In case you’re wondering, Florida also still mandates that the
school day starts with the pledge of allegiance.
Florida Statute 1003.44 states: (1) Each district
school board may adopt rules to require, in all of the schools
of the district, programs of a patriotic nature to encourage
greater respect for the government of the United States and its
national anthem and flag, subject always to other existing
pertinent laws of the United States or of the state. When the
national anthem is played, students and all civilians shall
stand at attention, men removing the headdress, except when such
headdress is worn for religious purposes. The pledge of
allegiance to the flag, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the
United States of America and to the republic for which it
stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and
justice for all,” shall be rendered by students standing with
the right hand over the heart. The pledge of allegiance to
the flag shall be recited at the beginning of the day in each
public elementary, middle, and high school in the state.
Each student shall be informed by a written notice published in
the student handbook or a similar publication pursuant to s.
1006.07(2) that the student has the right not to participate in
reciting the pledge. Upon written request by his or her parent,
the student must be excused from reciting the pledge, including
standing and placing the right hand over his or her heart. When
the pledge is given, unexcused students must show full respect
to the flag by standing at attention, men removing the
headdress, except when such headdress is worn for religious
So, Florida law doesn’t require a flag to be displayed at your
private board meetings at your association. It only requires
the flag at public meetings. Florida law only requires students
to say the pledge of allegiance, not unit owners and Board
members who attend a Board meeting in your community. But
you’re doing it anyway. It’s on your agendas and meeting
notices. So many of you are displaying the flag on your homes?
Tell us all what makes you do it and how you feel when you look
at our flag.
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated from
the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for more than 2
decades and is the owner of Glazer
and Associates, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in
Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples,
Fort Myers and Tampa.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host
of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs
at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
He is the first attorney in the
State of Florida that designed a course that certifies
condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium
Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000
Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit
Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated
dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric
also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the
best interest of Florida community association members.