How soon is too soon to decorate for the holidays? When do I have to take my decorations down? Do I have to turn my lights off every night? How many decorations are too many? These are some of the questions common in community associations this time of year.
To educate community association residents and the volunteer homeowners serving on their association board, CAI released the Homeowners Guide for Holiday Decorations, designed with tips for creating and managing holiday display rules.
CAI has published the new guide to help homeowners in community associations avoid holiday decorating disputes. More than 25% of the U.S. population lives in a community association, also known as a planned community (e.g. homeowners association, condominium community, or housing cooperative), according to the 2018-2019 National and State Statistical Review for Community Association Data from the Foundation for Community Association Research.
“Unreasonable rules and overzealous enforcement by governing boards can lead to homeowner dissatisfaction," says Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, CAI's chief executive officer. “CAI's research shows that the majority of Americans (90%) say their association's rules protect and enhance property values (62%) or have a neutral effect (28%)."
Developing a rule doesn't have to be a complicated or controversial process. “Rather than adopt a rule under pressure, why not take the time to think it through before the need arises?" attorney Lucia Anna “Pia" Trigiani, principal of MercerTrigiani in Alexandria, Va., and a member of CAI's College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), writes in her book, Reinventing the Rules: A Step-by-Step Guide for Being Reasonable. Anticipating your association's future needs and establishing rules for them now puts you in a proactive rather than reactive position."
The rulemaking process should involve the entire community:
Committees. The responsibility of researching and drafting the initial rule may fall on the architectural or rules committee, which should poll the board and residents to discover their preferences.
Professionals. Consult with your community manager and attorney. These experts might know of other associations that have dealt with the same problem, and they also can help make sure your policy is consistent with your association's governing documents, as well as state and local laws.
Residents. After the committee has drafted the initial policy and the board has reviewed it, it's time to go back to your residents for feedback. Distribute copies of the proposed language for everyone to review. If applicable, incorporate resident concerns and suggestions into the final policy.
Download a copy of the Homeowners Guide for Holiday Decorations.
About Community Associations Institute Since 1973, Community Associations Institute (CAI) has been the leading provider of resources and information for homeowners, volunteer board leaders, professional managers, and business professionals in the nearly 350,000 homeowners associations, condominiums, and co-ops in the United States and millions of communities worldwide. With more than 45,000 members, CAI works in partnership with 36 legislative action committees and 64 affiliated chapters within the U.S., Canada, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa, as well as with housing leaders in several other countries, including Australia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. A global nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization, CAI is the foremost authority in community association management, governance, education, and advocacy. Our mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership, and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in community associations that are preferred places to call home. Visit us at www.caionline.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @caisocial.
For members and general inquiries, contact the
CAI Member Service Center:Phone: 703-970-9220
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy RepkePhone: 703-970-9239