By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Of course, it’s the season for holiday decorating and the sometimes crazy homeowner and condo association rules that limit what residents can and cannot display.
The Palm Beach Post (FL) reports that the Lands of the President condo association is not allowing residents to decorate their condo entry doors with wreaths, or any other decoration that measures larger than 6 by 3 inches, as allowed by Florida statute.
Once again, the condo legal argument is that the hallways are common areas of the Association, and therefore, not the property of private owners. The Association-Governed residential community industry claims condo associations can curtail an owner’s right to modify hallway doors, even if that only entails hanging a temporary decoration.
The owner threatened with a fine, Donna Sozzio, insists her First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom on religion are being violated.
But, Community Association attorneys will argue that Constitutional protections do not apply between two private parties – they only apply with regard to interactions between individuals and government. Association-Governed communities are legally recognized as corporations, not governments.
Therefore, as I have stated before, because of their corporate structure,
In Association-Governed Residential Communities, The Bill of Rights Need Not Apply.
I know, I know. That seems to defy common sense, and everything you might have been taught about what it means to live in the USA.
And that’s exactly why there is increasing backlash from owners and residents, who never expected they were “agreeing” to live with onerous restrictions and rules enforcement resembling Communist or Fascist principles.
The state of Florida hasn’t helped by legitimizing the notion that condo associations can limit holiday decor to objects the size of a dollar bill.
Get out your tape measures, folks.
Condo threatens $100 a day fine for wreaths