The firm’s latest Miami Herald “Real Estate Counselor” column was authored by partner Roberto C. Blanch and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article, which is titled “HOA Policies on Signs, Flags Require Diligent Discussion and Deliberation,” focuses on the issues surrounding yard signs and flags in HOA communities that often arise prior to presidential and midterm elections. Roberto’s article reads:
. . . Many community associations have already established rules covering yard signs, flags and displays, as they have been a long-time cause of questions and concerns in gated enclaves. Even the Florida legislature weighed in on the matter years ago by enacting a state law prohibiting HOAs from banning respectful displays of the U.S. flag as well as the state flag and those of the branches of the armed services.
For community associations that have not yet addressed policies regarding yard signs and displays, taking a proactive approach may well be the most effective option for such a significant and recurring issue. Enacting policies could help to minimize the potential for discord that may arise if neighbors with opposing viewpoints try to outdo each other with walls of signs at their property lines. Not only would such displays be unsightly; they could also significantly compromise harmony within the community and the adherence to mutual respect among fellow owners/residents.
The place to start, as with most matters involving the enacting of new rules and restrictions, is with a careful review of an association’s governing documents by qualified legal counsel. The terms of an association’s declaration, by-laws and articles of incorporation — together with an analysis of the applicable statutes — will guide the decision establishing the approach which should be taken to make the changes. While at times it may be necessary to conduct and obtain votes of a community’s owners to amend the restrictive covenants, some restrictions may be more easily achieved by having the board of directors modify existing rules or enacting new rules.