When do you decorate for the holidays? Perhaps you decorate at the start of December, or if you’re feeling festive, at the start of November. There’s no doubt that holiday decorating is fun, but if you live in a community that’s governed by a homeowners association (HOA), you have to play by their rules. That includes when you can start decorating for the holidays.
Can your HOA tell you it’s “too early” to decorate?
Let’s cut to the chase – yes, your HOA can stop you from decorating far too early. HOAs can create holiday decorating regulations, and in turn, homeowners are obligated to abide by them. By choosing to live in an HOA-governed neighborhood, you submit to their rules and regulations. Hence, if your HOA says that it’s too early to decorate, all you can do is nod and decorate another day. If you go ahead and decorate, you’ll probably be fined. Whether or not there are repercussions depends largely on the HOA’s rules and regulations, which are contained in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
If you don’t know where to look for your HOA’s holiday decorating regulations, don’t hesitate to ask the association or your property management company.
Are holiday decorating guidelines “normal”?
Around 73.9 million Americans are part of a homeowner association or condominium owners association. These associations are led by a board of directors that can create rules regarding holiday decorating. In other words, the association can dictate how it operates. While not all HOAs have holiday decorating regulations, it’s not uncommon among them.
Do you need to follow HOA regulations on holiday decorating?
Yes, as long as you are a resident. As a general rule, residents can’t put up any type of holiday decoration that they want if the HOA doesn’t allow it. If you belong to an HOA, you probably pay association dues and are therefore bound to the association’s rules. The HOA can’t stop you from decorating your property, however, it can create rules regarding it, such as what decor you can use and when you can start spreading holiday cheer.
It’s worth mentioning that although tenants aren’t homeowners, the HOA treats them as if they were. Hence, tenants are also bound by the HOA’s holiday decorating rules.
If you aren’t from an HOA-governed community, you’ve got nothing to worry about. HOA rules on holiday decorating don’t apply to you.
What are some common HOA holiday decorating regulations?
Some HOAs are stricter than others, but in general, these are the decorating regulations that homeowners need to abide by:
It’s common for HOAs to regulate when homeowners can start decorating their homes for the holidays. Typically, it involves having rules regarding when outdoor lights can go up. HOAs often allow homeowners to hang up their lights right after Thanksgiving and take them down two weeks after Christmas. This guarantees that no neighbor still has a Santa statute on their yard in April.
Another regulation on holiday decorating is about when lights can be switched on. HOAs have this rule to prevent people from complaining that their neighbor’s lights are keeping them awake. It also deters residents from installing bright, flashing lights that contribute to light pollution. So, if you’re from a community with a homeowners association, choose your lights wisely, and don’t forget to switch them off after a specific time.
Want to mount a snowman animatronic on your yard? Be sure to check with your HOA because they likely ban decorations that make noise. This is because HOAs want to ensure that your decor isn’t a nuisance to your neighbor – after all, who’d want to listen to a singing snowman all night? Like the “dark hours” that HOAs enforce to require homeowners to switch off their lights, they can also enforce “quiet hours”, which is typically from 10 P.M. to 8 A.M.
#4 Large Decorations
One of the primary functions of the HOA is to uphold the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood. To do this, it prohibits large holiday decorations, such as an inflatable elf on the roof. If your HOA does allow it, chances are you’ll have to get it approved. Your HOA’s architect will inspect your house to see if your decor was installed safely.
If you’re concerned about your Christmas decor not being installed correctly, a holiday decorating service can provide you with the peace of mind that you need. Their trained decorators and installers can safely add holiday cheer to your house.
#5 Common Areas
Do you live in a condominium community? Chances are that your condominium owners association (COA) has regulations on holiday decorating, too. It’s best not to decorate outside of your unit because COAs typically delegate that to their property management company. This guarantees that the decorations are appropriate and that they don’t reflect a specific faith. Besides, the common areas (e.g. hallway) aren’t part of your unit, so decorating it is the COA board of director’s burden.
How should you decorate for the holidays?
Here are a few holiday decorating tips that get the green light from your HOA or COA:
- Don’t install roof-anchored decor. It’s not safe. Although roof-anchored decor does look festive, it is a safety risk. These decorations can fly away if they aren’t mounted correctly.
- Don’t use too many lights. Some HOAs allow a certain length of string lights such as 200 feet at most. This is because too many lights can be a disturbance to the neighbors.
- Consider pre-lit trees. Pre-lit Christmas trees are less of a fire risk compared to real pine trees.
- Position your tree properly. For indoor trees, make sure they aren’t near fireplaces, candles, and the like so that they don’t catch fire.
- Use light timers. Going away for the holidays but want your lights to be lit? Consider light timers to turn your lights on or off at the specified time.
Need holiday decorating help?
A property management company can help you decorate the holiday home of your dreams. At Luxury Property Care, we take care of your holiday decorating needs by handling all of the work. From creating the design concept to installing and taking down your decor, we’ll make sure that the holiday season is stress-free for you and your family.