Poliakoff, Ryan

Ryan Poliakoff is the co-author of New Neighborhoods: The Consumer’s Guide to Condominium, Co-Op and HOA Living, and Vice President of The Ocean Palms Association, Inc. For more information, please visit www.newneighborhoodspublishing.com.

Decking the Halls? Maybe Not in a Condo, Co-op or HOA

By Ryan Poliakoff

It’s that time of year again, when we drag out the lights and tinsel to show our neighbors just how much we appreciate the holidays.  But for the sixty million Americans who live in a shared ownership community, or SOC (condominium, co-op or HOA), arguments about religious decorations can make the season a lot less festive.  SOC documents often restrict decorations and signs, and these restrictions carry over into the holidays. For example, one community in 2008 cited their rules against signage when banning all holiday lights and decorations, much to the distress of the mostly unaware residents. And a federal court recently ruled that religious objects could be barred from doorframes by a condominium’s documents unless it could be demonstrated that the condo was intentionally discriminating against the owner.  So before you hang your wreath and plug in those twinkly lights, here’s a few things to consider:
1) Always Check your Documents First