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Subject: Religious statues
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Author Messages
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:141


09/02/2021 12:58 PM  
Our Declarations specifically forbid statues. We have several homeowners who have been sent violation notices for religious statues in their yard, and a couple of them claim this is a religious discrimination. Has anybody had experience with this kind of protest?

.....

No statues, sculptures, painted trees, bird baths, lawn ornaments, replicas of animals, or other like objects may be affixed to or placed on any Lot or building. No more than one flag may be located on any Lot and must be mounted to the building located on any such Lot. Lawn furniture shall be permitted only in the rear yards of the Lots.


AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/02/2021 1:19 PM  
Short answer:
As long as a HOA is not practicing selective enforcement with regard to covenants like the OP's, the courts seem to allow such covenants and their enforcement.


Longer answer:
Nationwide, disputes of this nature arise mostly with regard to holiday decorations. It appears the courts generally allow covenants that prohibit items on homes or in yards (including religious items) as long as the covenant is facially neutral and, when the HOA enforces the covenant, does not practice selective enforcement. Consider at least skimming the following:

https://www.hopb.co/blog/community-fellowship-or-losing-your-religion-religious-freedom-in-homeowners-associations

https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/662670/anirudh-boodram-v-maryland-farms-condominium-condominium-venture/

https://hirzellaw.com/avoiding-religious-discrimination-claims-in-condominiums-and-hoas/

https://wscai.org/community-associations-best-practices-for-display-of-holiday-cheer/
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/02/2021 1:56 PM  
Agree with Augustin. So long as your covenants do not use the word "religious" and forbid all kinds of objects, there is no discrimination. Think about the word "discrimination" for a bit and see what you conclude.

How do you intend to enforce this, David?
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:141


09/02/2021 2:00 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/02/2021 1:56 PM
Agree with Augustin. So long as your covenants do not use the word "religious" and forbid all kinds of objects, there is no discrimination. Think about the word "discrimination" for a bit and see what you conclude.

How do you intend to enforce this, David?




Thanks. I know it's not discrimination, but I didn't know if anyone had experience with property owners taking them to court - because what is common sense to me does not always seem to be what courts decide.

Our property manager occassionally drives their golf cart around the community and makes notes of violations. They send a courtesy note first, which is followed by a fine.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/02/2021 2:40 PM  
I recently had a case in a HOA I manage that are owned by a number of owners of Asian descent. A Board member sent me a text of a homeowner who had a gold swastika on their front door, visible to the common area. They wanted me to send them a violation letter. I decided to do some research and found it was in Buddhism, the swastika is thought to represent the footprints of the Buddha. I contacted an attorney for advice, and he sent me this,

Civil Code §4706. Display of Religious Symbols on Entry Doors.

(a) Except as restricted in Section 1940.5, no governing document shall limit or prohibit the display of one or more religious items on the entry door or entry door frame of the member’s separate interest.

(b) If an association is performing maintenance, repair, or replacement of an entry door or door frame that serves a member’s separate interest, the member may be required to remove a religious item during the time the work is being performed. After completion of the association’s work, the member may again display or affix the religious item. The association shall provide individual notice to the member regarding the temporary removal of the religious item.

I don't know what the rules are in Delaware, but these are the rules in California.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/02/2021 2:41 PM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/02/2021 2:00 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/02/2021 1:56 PM
Agree with Augustin. So long as your covenants do not use the word "religious" and forbid all kinds of objects, there is no discrimination. Think about the word "discrimination" for a bit and see what you conclude.

How do you intend to enforce this, David?




Thanks. I know it's not discrimination, but I didn't know if anyone had experience with property owners taking them to court - because what is common sense to me does not always seem to be what courts decide.

Our property manager occassionally drives their golf cart around the community and makes notes of violations. They send a courtesy note first, which is followed by a fine.



As a property manager, I don't go driving around in a golf cart looking for things like that.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/02/2021 4:19 PM  
Your HOA is playing with fire if they limit religious statues on display. As a board member myself, this is one thing I do not want to have to explain to FHA, an ombudsman or plaintiffs council.

As Max pointed out, though it is California, a precedent has been set and courts will look outside their own jurisdiction for guidance.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:569


09/02/2021 5:12 PM  
My state specifically prohibits an HOA from disallowing religious displays. Check your state statutes.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/02/2021 5:38 PM  
Just curious, Barbara. Are religious displays permitted everywhere in TX -- like front yards? Or does it depend on if the front yards are common areas or limited common area, or separate interest? I know in some HOAs, the assn. does all the front landscaping and forbids anything that gets in the way of the work.

I'm also wondering about the word "displays."

Does sound like David or his HOA's attorney should make sure what state statute says. The issue may not be "discrimination," but the law.

I disagree that CA sets a precedent as there's huge difference between a front door and a front yard. He also neglected to say that things on the front door or frame can be limited in size to 12" x 36" in CA.

AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/02/2021 7:23 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/02/2021 5:12 PM
My state specifically prohibits an HOA from disallowing religious displays. Check your state statutes.
For the archives, the Texas legislature just this past spring greatly expanded the reach, so to speak, of TPC Section 202.018. The law applies applies to Texas condos, POAs and HOAs alike. The change to Section 202.018 passed the Texas Senate 31-0 and by the Texas House 139-4 in Spring, 2021. I cannot find an up-to-date version of TPC 202.018 in which I feel confident. Maybe someone else can find it. But one summary of the changes goes like this:

No provision of a dedicatory instrument (restrictive covenant yada) may prohibit a property owner or resident from displaying or affixing on the owner's or resident's property or dwelling one or more religious items the display of which is motivated by the owner's or resident's sincere religious belief.

Curiously to me, the new law also states that a COA/HOA/POA may adopt and enforce covenants that prohibit a religious display that:

-- violates a law other than a law prohibiting the display of religious speech;

-- contains language, graphics, or any display that is patently offensive to a passerby for reasons other than its religious content.


I believe the standard these days for what is "patently offensive" remains, in the words of Justice Potter Stewart sitting on the High Court in 1964, "I know it when I see it."


AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/02/2021 7:24 PM  
Posted By LetA on 09/02/2021 4:19 PM
Your HOA is playing with fire if they limit religious statues on display.
Have you anything at all to back up this position?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/02/2021 7:44 PM  
Thanks, Augustin. It appears this applies in TX even if the front yard is assn. common area????
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/02/2021 8:12 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/02/2021 7:44 PM
Thanks, Augustin. It appears this applies in TX even if the front yard is assn. common area????
From what I am seeing so far, the law does not apply to common area. In other words, HOAs may still prohibit religious displays on common area. To come to this conclusion, this is what I am parsing: https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/analysis/html/SB00581F.htm (warning about the latter: Double+ negative language used. Parse at your own risk.)

I am thinking that the Texas law does allow an owner to put religious displays on her/his limited common area.

I see no law in Delaware comparable to the Texas law or the California law on this subject.

Florida is one of the bigger HOA/COA states. I also see no Florida law that is like either the Texas law or the California law.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/02/2021 8:33 PM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/02/2021 12:58 PM
Our Declarations specifically forbid statues. We have several homeowners who have been sent violation notices for religious statues in their yard, and a couple of them claim this is a religious discrimination. Has anybody had experience with this kind of protest?

.....

No statues, sculptures, painted trees, bird baths, lawn ornaments, replicas of animals, or other like objects may be affixed to or placed on any Lot or building. No more than one flag may be located on any Lot and must be mounted to the building located on any such Lot. Lawn furniture shall be permitted only in the rear yards of the Lots.





David,

Is fighting a religious statue really a stand either you or the HOA really feel is worth your time and effort. If you have legal counsel, have you run by them. If not, I would.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/03/2021 7:59 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/02/2021 7:24 PM
Posted By LetA on 09/02/2021 4:19 PM
Your HOA is playing with fire if they limit religious statues on display.
Have you anything at all to back up this position?





When the topic of Religion and The US Flag and or Service Branch flags, it it a BIG First Amendment right to exercise one rights. Would you want to be the one to explain to the rest of the owners why their assessments are being raised to cover the fine the HOA has to pay the government, on top of that any civil judgments? I not 100% certain, I don''t think D&O insurance would cover this.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/03/2021 8:08 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/03/2021 7:59 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/02/2021 7:24 PM
Posted By LetA on 09/02/2021 4:19 PM
Your HOA is playing with fire if they limit religious statues on display.
Have you anything at all to back up this position?

When the topic of Religion and The US Flag and or Service Branch flags, it it a BIG First Amendment right to exercise one rights. Would you want to be the one to explain to the rest of the owners why their assessments are being raised to cover the fine the HOA has to pay the government, on top of that any civil judgments? I not 100% certain, I don''t think D&O insurance would cover this.
-- I understand you have nothing to back up your assertion.

--HUD throws out far far more complaint submissions than it accepts for filing. In other words, the Intake staff at HUD weed out the nonsense complaints quickly, rejecting them, and long before they have a chance of reaching a HOA/COA's board.

-- You should read the case law on those who seek to be allowed to have religious xyz on the exterior of their homes or lots, when the covenants have a facially neutral prohibition on xyz. Unless selective enforcement is happening, those filing suit seem to lose regularly.

-- You ought to consider that a failure to enforce the covenants invites lawsuits. For example, if DavidG45's HOA does not enforce the prohibition on statutes against all statutes (religious or otherwise), then people could sue.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/03/2021 8:36 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/02/2021 4:19 PM
Your HOA is playing with fire if they limit religious statues on display. As a board member myself, this is one thing I do not want to have to explain to FHA, an ombudsman or plaintiffs council.

As Max pointed out, though it is California, a precedent has been set and courts will look outside their own jurisdiction for guidance.



They are not banning religious statues. They are banning ALL statues. I say this is legal.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:249


09/03/2021 8:45 AM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/02/2021 12:58 PM
Our Declarations specifically forbid statues. We have several homeowners who have been sent violation notices for religious statues in their yard, and a couple of them claim this is a religious discrimination. Has anybody had experience with this kind of protest?

.....

No statues, sculptures, painted trees, bird baths, lawn ornaments, replicas of animals, or other like objects may be affixed to or placed on any Lot or building. No more than one flag may be located on any Lot and must be mounted to the building located on any such Lot. Lawn furniture shall be permitted only in the rear yards of the Lots.






Perhaps it's time to clear the community of all items listed above at one time to avoid selective enforcement accusations. Whether it's a frog, bird, cross, a naked statue of David, or bird bath, etc., it should be sited for removal. Be prepared for the "but so and so still has one" rebuttal.

In NC violations are covered under privacy laws, don't know about Delaware. There is no way for other owners to know what process the violation is in including hearings or fines. It's even possible for the fine to be paid and the violation to still continue to exist.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:141


09/03/2021 8:52 AM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 09/03/2021 8:45 AM
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/02/2021 12:58 PM
Our Declarations specifically forbid statues. We have several homeowners who have been sent violation notices for religious statues in their yard, and a couple of them claim this is a religious discrimination. Has anybody had experience with this kind of protest?

.....

No statues, sculptures, painted trees, bird baths, lawn ornaments, replicas of animals, or other like objects may be affixed to or placed on any Lot or building. No more than one flag may be located on any Lot and must be mounted to the building located on any such Lot. Lawn furniture shall be permitted only in the rear yards of the Lots.






Perhaps it's time to clear the community of all items listed above at one time to avoid selective enforcement accusations. Whether it's a frog, bird, cross, a naked statue of David, or bird bath, etc., it should be sited for removal. Be prepared for the "but so and so still has one" rebuttal.

In NC violations are covered under privacy laws, don't know about Delaware. There is no way for other owners to know what process the violation is in including hearings or fines. It's even possible for the fine to be paid and the violation to still continue to exist.




That's exactly what we are doing. A number of homes have placed all kinds of yard ornaments in their flower beds including statues, gnomes, bird baths, etc. The property manager is sending violation notices to all of them.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 8:55 AM  
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:141


09/03/2021 9:13 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 8:55 AM
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?




Are you seriously asking why we are enforcing our Declarations?

MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 9:43 AM  
No, re-read my question. It appears people have collected these items over a period of time, or was there some kind of LARGE yard sale and this happened overnight?

Your original question was had anyone experienced what you had asked. No one, other than me, has able to answer from experience. The lawyer representing one of my associations said not to touch with a ten-foot pole.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/03/2021 10:30 AM  
I really like pat's advice and am glad you're following it David. Every resident must remove every object.

I can't recall, are you now under owners' control or still under developer control?

Max thinks his religious-object-on-a-front-door example is that same as items in the front yard.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 10:46 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 10:30 AM
I really like pat's advice and am glad you're following it David. Every resident must remove every object.

I can't recall, are you now under owners' control or still under developer control?

Max thinks his religious-object-on-a-front-door example is that same as items in the front yard.



Still in your Sunday fog?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/03/2021 10:55 AM  
Religious ornaments/decorations mainly came about as the result of Jewish Mezuzah's on the door frame but was also expanded to ones home entry to host any other similar religious ornaments. Some docs have had to be more specific as one does not want a full door, lighted ornament.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/03/2021 11:03 AM  
David

My suggestion is to send a "warning" letter to those in violation. Cite that Covenant section and also note the BOD has received numerous complaints and as a result, is going to be very diligent in enforcing the Covenant. See where the chips fall.
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:141


09/03/2021 11:09 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 9:43 AM
No, re-read my question. It appears people have collected these items over a period of time, or was there some kind of LARGE yard sale and this happened overnight?

Your original question was had anyone experienced what you had asked. No one, other than me, has able to answer from experience. The lawyer representing one of my associations said not to touch with a ten-foot pole.




We are a fairly new community, with about 200 homes when COVID hit but now we are at around 400. As with many businesses, our property manager has not maintained full staffing levels, and as a result enforcement of rules and regulations dropped off. They are now back up to full staffing and are attacking the many violations that have accumulated over the last eighteen months.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 11:15 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 10:30 AM
I really like pat's advice and am glad you're following it David. Every resident must remove every object.

I can't recall, are you now under owners' control or still under developer control?

Max thinks his religious-object-on-a-front-door example is that same as items in the front yard.



Maybe David should follow whatever advice you may or may not have given. I think you were just jumping on other's coattails.

David, why not sue the owners that have the religious items and see how much it might cost the association. You might want to look into a similar issue where the HOA had to give up its town square over a stupid political sign because it was four inch higher than the "standard". It had nothing to do with the sign and how big it was, it had to do with the name on the sign. Legal costs $400K.

Pat rambled on about getting rid of a number of statues and such, but I don't see any mention of a religious statue, was that intentional? For the archives, I don't consider a statue of a naked David, religious.

Kerry, the OP asked if anyone had experienced something like what he described. He didn't ask just for Delaware, so I provided one in California, with a state statue banning for my example. I am very sorry if the example I posted didn't say statute, if that even matters, as the law may have been written for the door because of a complaint for a door. Could the legislature have expanded the area to include someone's property, but not common area, maybe, but I don't write laws.

The lawyer who said not to touch with a ten-foot pole is a senior partner in the law firm you referenced in an article about a month ago.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 11:21 AM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 11:09 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 9:43 AM
No, re-read my question. It appears people have collected these items over a period of time, or was there some kind of LARGE yard sale and this happened overnight?

Your original question was had anyone experienced what you had asked. No one, other than me, has able to answer from experience. The lawyer representing one of my associations said not to touch with a ten-foot pole.




We are a fairly new community, with about 200 homes when COVID hit but now we are at around 400. As with many businesses, our property manager has not maintained full staffing levels, and as a result enforcement of rules and regulations dropped off. They are now back up to full staffing and are attacking the many violations that have accumulated over the last eighteen months.



It's the Board that gives the authority to the PM to increase the violation patrol. Was the step-up ion violation patrol communicated to the homeowners.

Are you still under declarant or developer control?
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/03/2021 11:24 AM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 9:13 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 8:55 AM
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?


Are you seriously asking why we are enforcing our Declarations?
[Applause]
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/03/2021 12:00 PM  


I feel it's a good courtesy to support the ideas of others when they're logical and make sense, as does Pat's. Please Google "coattails," Max. Please reference the "10-foot pole citation." How do we know it's even real???

I also agree with JohnC's post about sending warnings to remove all statutes, etc., stating there have been "complaints." David's PM should not, of course, say anything about the religious nature of some statues.

Here is my HOA's example that also isn't like David's situation, but may interest some readers: We're a high rise twin-tower condo with 300+ exclusive use common area balconies. Nothing can be posted on their rails, e.g., signs or banners. The only item that may be flown is the US flag.

Several months ago, an owner replaced his US flag on his balcony with another very large one that had a huge yellow cross embossed on it. A neighbor, who happens to be Jewish, on the same floor as the new-flag owner, but in the tower 50' away complained and said as a US military vet, he wants to see only the official US flag, which he flies from his balcony. The violator would not cooperate with the PM's courtesy letter to replace it and finally, with the board's OK the owner spoke directly with our HOA attorney who told him clearly that his flag with the cross is not an official US flag. And only the official flag of the USA may be flown on our exclusive use balconies. The violator did replace his fake US flag with a real one.

Our CC&R draft restatement now has added the word "official" to the section on balconies.

BTW, in CA, owners may place any non-commercial signs or banners in their windows that they wish. We do have size restrictions in our Rules & Regs. So "Praise Satan," "Hitler for president," etc., are permitted. We don't have any, though, I think because no one wants to block their own view of the Bay & ocean or reduce daylight.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 12:19 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 12:00 PM


I feel it's a good courtesy to support the ideas of others when they're logical and make sense, as does Pat's. Please Google "coattails," Max. Please reference the "10-foot pole citation." How do we know it's even real???

I also agree with JohnC's post about sending warnings to remove all statutes, etc., stating there have been "complaints." David's PM should not, of course, say anything about the religious nature of some statues.

Here is my HOA's example that also isn't like David's situation, but may interest some readers: We're a high rise twin-tower condo with 300+ exclusive use common area balconies. Nothing can be posted on their rails, e.g., signs or banners. The only item that may be flown is the US flag.

Several months ago, an owner replaced his US flag on his balcony with another very large one that had a huge yellow cross embossed on it. A neighbor, who happens to be Jewish, on the same floor as the new-flag owner, but in the tower 50' away complained and said as a US military vet, he wants to see only the official US flag, which he flies from his balcony. The violator would not cooperate with the PM's courtesy letter to replace it and finally, with the board's OK the owner spoke directly with our HOA attorney who told him clearly that his flag with the cross is not an official US flag. And only the official flag of the USA may be flown on our exclusive use balconies. The violator did replace his fake US flag with a real one.

Our CC&R draft restatement now has added the word "official" to the section on balconies.

BTW, in CA, owners may place any non-commercial signs or banners in their windows that they wish. We do have size restrictions in our Rules & Regs. So "Praise Satan," "Hitler for president," etc., are permitted. We don't have any, though, I think because no one wants to block their own view of the Bay & ocean or reduce daylight.



Please, Please, Please....stick to the subject! David NEVER mentioned flags, nor does anything in his docs as posted. Your suggestion was not to have the PM say anything about the religious nature of some statues, the cat is out of the bag.

What is the saying of what not to discuss at the dinner table, politics and religion. The same goes for the HOA.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/03/2021 12:35 PM  
Please reread, Max. The religious nature of our Owner's fake flag was a main point.

Please cite the article you claim exists about staying away with a "10-foot-pole." There's no reason not to cite the author of a syndicated column.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 12:35 PM
Please reread, Max. The religious nature of our Owner's fake flag was a main point.

Please cite the article you claim exists about staying away with a "10-foot-pole." There's no reason not to cite the author of a syndicated column.



First, what the hell does an American Flag with a yellow cross embossed on it look like, and why would it concern a Jewish neighbor, who is a US vet that only want an official US flag. Do you rules state specifically it has to be an "official" US flag? I have seen blue US flags supporting police in various neighborhoods.

What does your example have to do with religion, because the offended guy was Jewish? He was offended because he was a vet.

I was never referencing an article about a ten-foot pole, as that is just a saying. It came up in the email from the association's attorney, WHO happens to work for the law firm that YOU posted an article last month.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:569


09/03/2021 1:15 PM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 9:13 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 8:55 AM
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?




Are you seriously asking why we are enforcing our Declarations?





Well David, sometimes it is a question worth asking.

Are you enforcing this covenant because the statues are unsightly and devaluing the property, or for some other tangible reason?

Or are you enforcing this rule because it's a rule?

A good rule has a reason for existing.

Developers do not put much thought into drafting CCRs. I can't tell you how many I've read that contain unenforceable or irrelevant covenants, because they were copied from some other set of CCRs and not applicable to the property they are purportedly for.

One of the most frustrating experiences of my management career was a property whose CCRs required "live oak" trees in every yard. Every tiny, tiny yard that was wholly unsuitable for a live oak. The developer even admitted it was a mistake. But it was in the documents so gosh darn it, it was a rule. Even if those live oak roots were going to destroy foundations, plumbing and sidewalks in a few years, by golly we must follow the rules!

Yes, I'm rambling.

Anyway, before you go down a path may put you on the wrong end of a local news camera, your board may want to ask themselves what they are protecting and why.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 1:21 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/03/2021 1:15 PM
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 9:13 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 8:55 AM
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?




Are you seriously asking why we are enforcing our Declarations?





Well David, sometimes it is a question worth asking.

Are you enforcing this covenant because the statues are unsightly and devaluing the property, or for some other tangible reason?

Or are you enforcing this rule because it's a rule?

A good rule has a reason for existing.

Developers do not put much thought into drafting CCRs. I can't tell you how many I've read that contain unenforceable or irrelevant covenants, because they were copied from some other set of CCRs and not applicable to the property they are purportedly for.

One of the most frustrating experiences of my management career was a property whose CCRs required "live oak" trees in every yard. Every tiny, tiny yard that was wholly unsuitable for a live oak. The developer even admitted it was a mistake. But it was in the documents so gosh darn it, it was a rule. Even if those live oak roots were going to destroy foundations, plumbing and sidewalks in a few years, by golly we must follow the rules!

Yes, I'm rambling.

Anyway, before you go down a path may put you on the wrong end of a local news camera, your board may want to ask themselves what they are protecting and why.



[Applause]
DavidG45
(Delaware)

Posts:141


09/03/2021 1:27 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/03/2021 1:15 PM
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 9:13 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 8:55 AM
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?




Are you seriously asking why we are enforcing our Declarations?





Well David, sometimes it is a question worth asking.

Are you enforcing this covenant because the statues are unsightly and devaluing the property, or for some other tangible reason?

Or are you enforcing this rule because it's a rule?

A good rule has a reason for existing.

Developers do not put much thought into drafting CCRs. I can't tell you how many I've read that contain unenforceable or irrelevant covenants, because they were copied from some other set of CCRs and not applicable to the property they are purportedly for.

One of the most frustrating experiences of my management career was a property whose CCRs required "live oak" trees in every yard. Every tiny, tiny yard that was wholly unsuitable for a live oak. The developer even admitted it was a mistake. But it was in the documents so gosh darn it, it was a rule. Even if those live oak roots were going to destroy foundations, plumbing and sidewalks in a few years, by golly we must follow the rules!

Yes, I'm rambling.

Anyway, before you go down a path may put you on the wrong end of a local news camera, your board may want to ask themselves what they are protecting and why.




The purpose is twofold. First, because we have lawn service these items make it difficult for the landscaping company to mow, trim, refresh mulch beds, etc. Second, it is tacky and most people have bought into this community with an assumption that, thanks to our rules that were filed and are part of the closing documents when people purchase their home, will not look tacky.

Does it affect property values? I don't know. But it's what our residents want. The single most common complaint I receive about our PM is that they aren't enforcing the highly visible rules.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/03/2021 1:39 PM  
David

Same issue here. One reason we do not allow "stuff" is our association does the landscaping and if our landscaper had to "work around" obstructions, they would charge us more. That said, the main reason we do not allow "stuff" is we want to maintain our, quality common look. We often hear the remark that our neighborhood looks great. Of course some asses say it has a Stepford Wife look which we consider a compliment. One of the proofs our method works is our homes resell within weeks, often days after listed, and sale price keep increasing.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:569


09/03/2021 2:12 PM  
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 1:27 PM
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/03/2021 1:15 PM
Posted By DavidG45 on 09/03/2021 9:13 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 8:55 AM
What did you do, wake up one morning and had a message from god that we should tackle statues this morning, after how long exactly?




Are you seriously asking why we are enforcing our Declarations?





Well David, sometimes it is a question worth asking.

Are you enforcing this covenant because the statues are unsightly and devaluing the property, or for some other tangible reason?

Or are you enforcing this rule because it's a rule?

A good rule has a reason for existing.

Developers do not put much thought into drafting CCRs. I can't tell you how many I've read that contain unenforceable or irrelevant covenants, because they were copied from some other set of CCRs and not applicable to the property they are purportedly for.

One of the most frustrating experiences of my management career was a property whose CCRs required "live oak" trees in every yard. Every tiny, tiny yard that was wholly unsuitable for a live oak. The developer even admitted it was a mistake. But it was in the documents so gosh darn it, it was a rule. Even if those live oak roots were going to destroy foundations, plumbing and sidewalks in a few years, by golly we must follow the rules!

Yes, I'm rambling.

Anyway, before you go down a path may put you on the wrong end of a local news camera, your board may want to ask themselves what they are protecting and why.




The purpose is twofold. First, because we have lawn service these items make it difficult for the landscaping company to mow, trim, refresh mulch beds, etc. Second, it is tacky and most people have bought into this community with an assumption that, thanks to our rules that were filed and are part of the closing documents when people purchase their home, will not look tacky.

Does it affect property values? I don't know. But it's what our residents want. The single most common complaint I receive about our PM is that they aren't enforcing the highly visible rules.






The lawn service reason is a GREAT reason.

Tacky is subjective and I would avoid using that word.

Residents are the most likely to want a rule enforced “because it’s the ruuuuule” - and often there is some other persons dispute they want to further by tattling over a misplaced garbage can.

Anyway, your reasoning prohibiting objects in yards is sound but you are still going to get some backlash because people think anything relating to their religion should be, well, sacred.

Do homes have porches? Are people allowed to have personal items on porches or doors or patios?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/03/2021 2:19 PM  
People

Please stop with the religious stuff. They are simply enforcing an existing Covenant. Religion does not play a role. Stop being scared of the word/threat.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 2:30 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/03/2021 2:19 PM
People

Please stop with the religious stuff. They are simply enforcing an existing Covenant. Religion does not play a role. Stop being scared of the word/threat.



Really? You know this how?
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:569


09/03/2021 3:23 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/03/2021 2:19 PM
People

Please stop with the religious stuff. They are simply enforcing an existing Covenant. Religion does not play a role. Stop being scared of the word/threat.





Religion is a protected class. Of course it plays a role. There a lots of rules that do not apply when religion is involved. Mandatory vaccines, workplace policies, right to refuse service, for examples.

And there's such a thing as optics. It is certainly arguable that they are going after any objects on the lot, and not singling out religious statues. If it hits the media, the reporter covering the story will say "representatives from the HOA say they're just enforcing the rules". But you'll still take the hit of negative press and neighborhood ill will.

Acknowledging a possible outcome isn't being scared.

I had a Realtor contact me about a client who wanted to buy into the neighborhood but they had an emotional support pig and would that be a problem? The Realtor mentioned that his client was a veteran about a dozen times in ten minutes. So when I brought it to the board I warned them - anybody playing that card that hard is probably willing to run to the press about the mean HOA that dishonored a veteran and obviously hates America. They said no to the pig, but it was an informed decision and they were prepared to take any possible heat.





BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1026


09/03/2021 4:32 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/02/2021 7:44 PM
Thanks, Augustin. It appears this applies in TX even if the front yard is assn. common area????



No, it only applies to the "owner's or resident's property."
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1026


09/03/2021 4:34 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/02/2021 5:12 PM
My state specifically prohibits an HOA from disallowing religious displays. Check your state statutes.



Our legislature has gone bat sh*t crazy.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:569


09/03/2021 5:37 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 09/03/2021 4:34 PM
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/02/2021 5:12 PM
My state specifically prohibits an HOA from disallowing religious displays. Check your state statutes.



Our legislature has gone bat sh*t crazy.




I’m waiting for the Church of Satan to challenge this with a big ol’ statue of Baphomet in someone’s front yard.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/03/2021 6:02 PM  
Say, David, did I miss if your assn. front lawns are common area? Or exclusive use (limited use) common area?

Whatever the case, your HOA's yard care service means that nothing can be in the way of this work. The prohibition IS in the covenants and is not unreasonable. John uses his HOA as an example of such a limit and I've seen it from other owners here too. It is NOT unreasonable that the developer also would have sough a uniform appearance of the front yards.

With Barbara, are there front porches or enclosed patios on which residents may place personal objects, David?

The flag of the United States of America does not have a huge yellow Christian cross on it, Max. Whoever the attorney is, Max, why not anon. cite her/him about being scared of enforcing an HOA's covenants about religious items and why.

MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 6:24 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 6:02 PM
The flag of the United States of America does not have a huge yellow Christian cross on it, Max. Whoever the attorney is, Max, why not anon. cite her/him about being scared of enforcing an HOA's covenants about religious items and why.




First, I have never seen such a flag and if one does exist, why not post a link to one.

Second, I won't post the contents of the email from the attorney. I cited California Civil Code §4706 which was what my case was for.

What CCRs have you seen that mandate the HOA to enforce religious items on private property in a HOA.

Why would you even think that an owner can place religious items in the common area? Really?
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 6:28 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 6:02 PM
Say, David, did I miss if your assn. front lawns are common area? Or exclusive use (limited use) common area?

Whatever the case, your HOA's yard care service means that nothing can be in the way of this work. The prohibition IS in the covenants and is not unreasonable. John uses his HOA as an example of such a limit and I've seen it from other owners here too. It is NOT unreasonable that the developer also would have sough a uniform appearance of the front yards.

With Barbara, are there front porches or enclosed patios on which residents may place personal objects, David?

The flag of the United States of America does not have a huge yellow Christian cross on it, Max. Whoever the attorney is, Max, why not anon. cite her/him about being scared of enforcing an HOA's covenants about religious items and why.




Google, "US Flag with a Christian Flag embossed." You'll see American flags with different cross, not all yellow.

Find someone else to be snarky at, PLEASE!
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 6:53 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 12:00 PM
Several months ago, an owner replaced his US flag on his balcony with another very large one that had a huge yellow cross embossed on it. A neighbor, who happens to be Jewish, on the same floor as the new-flag owner, but in the tower 50' away complained and said as a US military vet, he wants to see only the official US flag, which he flies from his balcony. The violator would not cooperate with the PM's courtesy letter to replace it and finally, with the board's OK the owner spoke directly with our HOA attorney who told him clearly that his flag with the cross is not an official US flag. And only the official flag of the USA may be flown on our exclusive use balconies. The violator did replace his fake US flag with a real one.




To pacify your Jewish friend, here is a flag for them, https://flagwix.com/?s=jewish+american+flag&post_type=product
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/03/2021 7:08 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/03/2021 3:23 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/03/2021 2:19 PM
People

Please stop with the religious stuff. They are simply enforcing an existing Covenant. Religion does not play a role. Stop being scared of the word/threat.


Religion is a protected class. Of course it plays a role.
Not in the OP's situation. As for optics: I think the optics for a HOA with a covenant that prohibits statues in front yards looks pretty bad when the Board (wrongly) decrees that religious statues are allowed.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/03/2021 7:10 PM  
As noted above, the man who complained about the huge cross overlaying a US balcony flag flies his own true US flag and has for many, many years. I'm sure he'd not be interested in any warped, fake version.

The Owner of the false flag removed it once our HOA attorney explained to him on the phone that it's not a real flag of the United States of America. Only the latter is allowed. Why should I look up fake US flags? The man is very active in a certain political party and perhaps one of his co-members made the flag for him--don't know; don't care.

The case was not, to the Board or our GC, the "religious" nature of the flag, but that it was not the true Flag of our nation. If he wishes, he can hang it in his condo window.

I've never said I've seen nor advocated for or against any religious items re: any matter in our CC&Rs.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/03/2021 7:10 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 6:53 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 12:00 PM
Several months ago, an owner replaced his US flag on his balcony with another very large one that had a huge yellow cross embossed on it. A neighbor, who happens to be Jewish, on the same floor as the new-flag owner, but in the tower 50' away complained and said as a US military vet, he wants to see only the official US flag, which he flies from his balcony. The violator would not cooperate with the PM's courtesy letter to replace it and finally, with the board's OK the owner spoke directly with our HOA attorney who told him clearly that his flag with the cross is not an official US flag. And only the official flag of the USA may be flown on our exclusive use balconies. The violator did replace his fake US flag with a real one.




To pacify your Jewish friend, here is a flag for them, https://flagwix.com/?s=jewish+american+flag&post_type=product
?

The Jewish neighbor said he wants to see only an official US flag.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 8:11 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/03/2021 7:10 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 6:53 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 12:00 PM
Several months ago, an owner replaced his US flag on his balcony with another very large one that had a huge yellow cross embossed on it. A neighbor, who happens to be Jewish, on the same floor as the new-flag owner, but in the tower 50' away complained and said as a US military vet, he wants to see only the official US flag, which he flies from his balcony. The violator would not cooperate with the PM's courtesy letter to replace it and finally, with the board's OK the owner spoke directly with our HOA attorney who told him clearly that his flag with the cross is not an official US flag. And only the official flag of the USA may be flown on our exclusive use balconies. The violator did replace his fake US flag with a real one.




To pacify your Jewish friend, here is a flag for them, https://flagwix.com/?s=jewish+american+flag&post_type=product
?

The Jewish neighbor said he wants to see only an official US flag.



You too need to get a room!
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/03/2021 9:06 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/03/2021 7:08 PM
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 09/03/2021 3:23 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/03/2021 2:19 PM
People

Please stop with the religious stuff. They are simply enforcing an existing Covenant. Religion does not play a role. Stop being scared of the word/threat.


Religion is a protected class. Of course it plays a role.
Not in the OP's situation. As for optics: I think the optics for a HOA with a covenant that prohibits statues in front yards looks pretty bad when the Board (wrongly) decrees that religious statues are allowed.



You make me glad I don't live in a HOA.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/04/2021 9:18 AM  
To agree with Augustin, and we'll use David's case as an example, it could be seen as discrimination against those who are barred from having lawn objects UNLESS they are religious in nature. Would the bird lover be required to have a statue of St. Francis with his arms around a bird bath? Must the flamingo wear a little cardinal's hat or yamika?

MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/04/2021 9:38 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/03/2021 12:00 PM
Here is my HOA's example that also isn't like David's situation, but may interest some readers: We're a high rise twin-tower condo with 300+ exclusive use common area balconies. Nothing can be posted on their rails, e.g., signs or banners. The only item that may be flown is the US flag.

Several months ago, an owner replaced his US flag on his balcony with another very large one that had a huge yellow cross embossed on it. A neighbor, who happens to be Jewish, on the same floor as the new-flag owner, but in the tower 50' away complained and said as a US military vet, he wants to see only the official US flag, which he flies from his balcony. The violator would not cooperate with the PM's courtesy letter to replace it and finally, with the board's OK the owner spoke directly with our HOA attorney who told him clearly that his flag with the cross is not an official US flag. And only the official flag of the USA may be flown on our exclusive use balconies. The violator did replace his fake US flag with a real one.




I did a word search of your CCRs and Rules, and there are no reference to US Flag, official or not.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/04/2021 9:45 AM  
Ah, Max tries to stalk me again. He seems a little obsessed. Creepy....

AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/04/2021 11:12 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 9:06 PM
You make me glad I don't live in a HOA.
As long as I do not have to live near a former HOA/COA manager, like yourself, who slurs a member of the Jewish community, I'm fine.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/04/2021 11:16 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/04/2021 9:38 AM

I did a word search of your CCRs and Rules, and there are no reference to US Flag, official or not.
That an alleged former California HOA/COA manager like yourself is clueless about the federal and California laws that prohibit association's from banning the flying of american flags underwhelms. Granted that in your case, this does not surprise.


MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/04/2021 11:21 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/04/2021 11:12 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/03/2021 9:06 PM
You make me glad I don't live in a HOA.
As long as I do not have to live near a former HOA/COA manager, like yourself, who slurs a member of the Jewish community, I'm fine.



Slurred a member of the Jewish community, how???? My son-in-law is Jewish.
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