WHICH FLAG CAN YOU FLY?

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July long weekend.   More than any other day of the year, it certainly is the day to fly the flag proudly.

         We all know that the statutes for both condos and HOAs state that owners may display a United States flag in a respectful way, and on certain other days, flags that represent the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, or Coast Guard, regardless of any provisions in the governing documents dealing with flags or decorations.  The HOA statute even allows for the flying of first responder flags.

         I received a great call on the Condo Craze and HOA show last week from Michael in Boynton Beach.  Mike is a member of a condo board.  Since October 7th, 2023 a lot of residents in his community have been flying the Israeli flag in light of the massacre and atrocities by Hamas.  The Board is getting ready to tell people to take down their Israeli flags.  Michael says, not so fast.

         Michael wants his board to adopt “The War Exclusion Rule” that states:

If a country that you care about is at war with another entity and that country is recognized as such by The United States government you can show your support for that country by flying their flag for the duration of the war.

         Michael’s Board is inclined to go along with this new rule.

         At first, I started to tell Michael that the Board can force owners to take down their Israeli flags.  Then, when he told me about this proposed new rule, I changed my mind.

         The flag statutes as found in statutes 718, 719 and 720 only assure owners the right to fly the American flag, even if there is a prohibition against same in the governing documents.  These statutes don’t say that you cannot fly the flags of other nations, even if the Board makes a rule allowing for the flying of other flags.

         While I’m not sure what is meant by the language “and that country is recognized as such by The United States government” I am assuming it means that as long as it is a country not at war with The United States, a country that is at war with an ally of The United States or a country that The United States has declared a “state sponsor of terrorism.”  Again, reasonable.

         So, as I explained to Mike, if the rule is carefully drafted, it should absolutely be legal.  Then the question becomes, will the rule create tremendous disharmony in the community and drive some people to anger and even fighting and destruction of property at the mere sight of some of these flags?  Remember, you have to be careful of what you wish for, because you may get it.

 

Written by Eric Glazer Esq.

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