HOA Fines Resident $75 for Flying American Flag

I am so glad I don’t live under a homeowner’s association anymore. I’m glad I don’t have to pay the $195-a-month fees that went toward maintenance of a pool that’s only open a few months out of the year, and a tennis court that’s overgrown with weeds. The fees also (allegedly) went toward repairing exterior damage to the condo units, and neighborhood nazis who went around looking for “unsightly conditions” violations.

One time I got a notice saying that I was in violation for not having a screen in one of the upstairs bedroom windows. Another time, I got a notice saying I was in violation for having the wrong color blinds on our front door. Only “white or off-white” were allowed. We had light brown. They threatened fines if I didn’t fix the “unsightly conditions” by their deadline. Yeah, I don’t miss that at all.

Residents in Utah are feeling the heavy hand of neighborhood despotism. Fox 13 reported:

Chestnut Place is a condominium community consisting of about 60 homeowners. Up until last week, those living in the community say they were free to fly their flags without regulation or restriction, but recently that changed.

“After the last board meeting, we were leaving and two members of the board and a resident said they were tired of looking at the flag,” said Jo Ann Dugay, who is one of the five board members on the Home Owners Association. “They said ‘is this flag row?’ And that something needed to be done about it.”

Something was: last week those living in the community were warned to take down the flags.

“I’m not taking it down, that’s one thing I won’t do.” said Erin Worthen, one of the residents asked to remove it.

As a result, she was fined $75 and given a notice, which states:

“All exterior decorations must be removed within 10 days following the holiday… Please remove your flag from the common area (Utah Community Association Act. 57-8a-219)”

I’ve got neighbors who fly flags, and set up nativity scenes and Christmas lights. They can decorate their place however they want, all-year round if they want, because it’s their property. Granted, we are in a rural area in Georgia where it is commonplace to see highly offensive things like a Confederate or an American flag.

And unfortunately, these residents did agree to be under the homeowner’s association. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have been able to live there. But that doesn’t mean the HOA has the right to micromanage and try to control every aspect of each homeowner’s life. When they get out of hand, residents should do as Erin Worthen is doing. They should make their voice heard and stand their ground.