DECORATIONS --- WHAT ARE THE LIMITS?
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published December 2, 2019
Now that Thanksgiving is over, there's a race
to get those Christmas decorations up. It's no longer too early
to start as recently suggested by one HOA. Twinkle the lights,
plug-in the blow-ups, put up the signs, sprinkle the lawn with
fake snow, place reindeer in the driveway and most of all, get
in the holiday spirit. Your house looks great! Just one
thing……you've gone too far and your Board says it all has to
Freedom of religious expression you say?
Well, the law in Florida regarding religious displays in your
condominium at least is clear. It was passed a few years ago to
combat boards who wanted owners to remove mezuzahs and crosses
from their front doors, because these Boards claimed that they
wanted all doors in the community to look uniform.
Then…………based on a law that first went into effect in Illinois,
the Florida Legislature passed a condo law that states: An
association may not refuse the request of a unit owner for a
reasonable accommodation for the attachment on the mantel or
frame of the door of the unit owner of a religious object not to
exceed 3 inches wide, 6 inches high, and 1.5 inches deep.
If you look at the law carefully, it
allows you to display a religious symbol on the frame or mantle
of the door only; not on the actual door itself. Obviously, it
also limits the size of what you can actually display. That's
all it allows. A unit owner in a condo still does not have a
right to put a big picture of Santa and his elves on their front
door, only a small religious symbol on the door frame or
That's more rights than HOA owners have
though. At the moment, there is no law under the HOA statute
that gives owners in an HOA the same right to display religious
symbols. Owners living in an HOA need to look at their own
declaration of covenants and rules and regulations to find out
what they can and cannot do in their own community as far as
holiday decorations go. Be prepared possibly to fill out forms
and potentially appear before an architectural review
What's your take? Should there be
restrictions on displaying religious symbols in your condo or
HOA? Should exceptions be made during certain holidays? Can
the exceptions wind up swallowing the rule? Any horror stories
out there of owners being told to take down Santa or Rudolph?
Did you? Are Scrooges alive and well in our Florida community
associations or is the usual bickering put on hold during the
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 Sachs, 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.