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July 29th, 2021

Can HOAs Restrict Flags and Flagpoles

A commonly asked question from our customers, can HOAs restrict flags and flagpoles where they live? The simple answer to this in most cases is no, however there are a few exceptions to this rule. Let’s dive into the details. 

The question of whether American citizens have the right to display flags and flagpoles is a matter of First Amendment speech. HOA’s are privately owned groups of homes. They set their own standards and rules for homeowners in the area to follow. Many of these rules include the length of your grass, where you can or cannot set your trash out, and even when you are allowed to water your grass. 

To Reasonably Restrict Flags and Flagpoles

In the case of flags, flagpoles, or signs of any nature an HOA and even the US Government have the right to reasonably restrict the display of messages in the sense of time, place, or manner. The keyword here is reasonably restricted. That is provided, the restrictions are to protect a substantial interest of the association

Can HOAs Restrict Flags and Flagpoles

Why an HOA would be able to reasonably restrict the flying of a flag or flagpole are as follows: 

Noise complaints 

Flags tend to make noise either from the whipping of the flag in high winds or the banging of rope and snap-hooks against the pole. This would have to do with the time and place of the flag/ flagpole. If your flag is keeping people up while they are trying to sleep in the late hours of the night. HOAs will have reasonable cause to restrict the use of flags/flagpoles. 

Danger to the public or property

If your flagpole is in rough condition, too close to your neighbors house, or public sidewalk there is reasonable cause of concern to restrict the use of flags/flagpoles. It is important to work with your HOA to plan the appropriate location for your flagpole. Keep in mind the public’s safety and be a good neighbor! 

Flagpole blocks neighbor’s view 

Your HOA has a responsibility to preserve the interests of everyone in the community. A major deciding factor in where you live has to do with the view from your home. If your flag/flagpole negatively affects the view in your neighborhood, your HOA has the right to restrict the manner in which your flag/flagpole is displayed. Often, this can be avoided by gaining written consent from your neighbors to have a flagpole in your neighborhood. HOAs might ask you to install a shorter flagpole, or could bar you from having a flagpole all together. Again, be a good resident and work with your neighbors and HOA to determine the best option for everyone. 

Freedom to Display the American Flag

All three examples have to do with time, place or manner of the message being displayed. However, HOAs do not have the right to restrict the actual message/ image of the flag being displayed. So much as it does not incite violence or any form of hate speech. In the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005” the US Congress declared that residential associations (HOA) do not have the right to restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the US flag on a residential property. 

As a US citizen, you have the right to display any flag or message you choose. So much as it doesn’t incite violence or any form of hate speech. Your HOA or City Zoning can restrict the size of your flag being displayed, just as they can with a flagpole. 

We encourage you to check with local state laws and work with your HOA to determine the best option for you and the community. Be a good neighbor, and treat other residents with respect to avoid any issues with the HOA. 
Reach out to us at www.customflagcompany.com. Or give us a call at 303-431-1117 to learn more about our products and services!

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