• Recent Posts

  • Martindale Hubbell AV Rating

    The Greater Williamsburg area is an exciting place to live and work, especially because of the large number of entrepreneurs who have built businesses from the ground up. These entrepreneurs have taken their passion and made it their profession. Many of us want to take that step. Before you begin, you need to think of the type of business entity you want to form. Our attorneys have extensive business experience, from small one-person companies to publicly traded major corporations. Our attorneys are among the leaders in Virginia in the representation of Common Interest Communities. These communities are generally referred to as "homeowners associations," or "HOAs," and "condominium associations." In the greater Williamsburg area alone, we provide legal assistance to nearly 100 associations. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted and defended a wide array of civil disputes involving community association covenant enforcement, commercial transactions, construction disputes, contracts, real estate matters, boundary line and easement disputes, employment matters, antitrust litigation, copyright violations, administrative proceedings, and estate issues. Real Estate law encompasses a wide variety of matters, and our attorneys have vast experience to assist you. Whether you need assistance with a commercial or residential closing, or you have questions relating to residential or commercial leasing, we provide experienced advice and counsel to our clients. Zoning law can be a complicated maze of statutes and ordinances. We have ample experience in successful applications for rezoning, variance, and special use permit requests. Finally, commercial and residential construction provide special challenges with respect to financing issues and the construction process. We serve as counsel to various financial institutions.
Print This Post

Community Associations and Holiday Decorations: Trying to Preserve Holiday Cheer

It’s that time of year when we start to see holiday decorations.  Yes, the stores have begun displaying Halloween items along with Thanksgiving, ChristmasHanukkahKwanzaa, and other holiday decorations at the same time. As we start to see the orange mini-lights for Halloween, condominium associations and property owner associations begin to deal with the issue of whether holiday decorations are permissible and if so, how long can they be displayed. Although when we read these stories, we may think that homeowners are over-reacting to a small issue, but what looks like a celebration of Halloween to one owner may seem way over-the-top to another. Rules for holiday decorations need to take into account ALL owners to be fair, effective, and enforceable. This blog post provides some common-sense guidance for your community association regarding holiday decorations.

Homeowner Associations

The following provides a good checklist for your HOA Board to consider when faced with issues relating to holiday decorations:

  1. Does the Board have the authority to regulate holiday decorations? If not, your inquiry stops here.
  2. If so, what types of holiday decorations are permitted?
  3. What is the time period for displaying holiday decorations?
  4. Are the rules governing holiday decorations “neutral” and not violative of Fair Housing?
  5. How does the Association intend to enforce the rules?

When implementing or enforcing rules for holiday decorations, it is critical to communicate with the owners in the community.  Sending out a newsletter or posting a letter on the Association’s website explaining the reasons and importance of the holiday decoration rule is helpful in gaining compliance. If the Association only sends out the rules, owners may perceive a “power play” by the Association rather than the message that the Association is simply enforcing the governing documents to maintain certain aesthetics in a community. It is very difficult for Associations to blend all of the different opinions owners may have on holiday decorations. On the other hand, owners should remember that a wonderfully carved jack o’lantern may be artwork to one owner, and just an abomination to another owner.

So as we enter this festive season, enjoy each of the holidays you celebrate, and learn something about the holidays your neighbors may celebrate. As it relates to your community association, make sure you understand any rules that govern holiday decorations. And for HOA Boards, work with your experienced community association attorney to ensure that you comply with the governing documents. Do your best to work with your neighbors so you do not end up on the evening news battling against Santa Claus!

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

Susan Tarley

Susan Tarley

Susan chairs the firm's common interest community (HOAs and Condos) practice area. She was admitted into the College of Community Association Attorneys (“CCAL”). Susan is one of fewer than 150 attorneys nationwide to be admitted to CCAL, for distinguishing herself through contributions to the evolution or practice of community association law.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

Filed under: Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, Mediation, Real Estate Litigation, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association by Susan Tarley

Comments are closed.

« | »
  • Phone Numbers

    (757) 229-4281- Office

    (757) 229-7439 - Fax
  • Address

    4801 Courthouse Street Suite 122 Williamsburg, Virginia 23188
Web Development by OneWaveMedia.Com