Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Homeowners Association Issue

"God creates men, but they choose each other." ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

Sometime back, I posted an entry about a woman who was being fined for having a sign posted on her house that showed her support of the troops. As it turned out, it had nothing to do with her political views, and everything to do with homeowners association rules. She violated the rules of her homeowners association, which is why I will never be a member of a homeowner's association.

Upon reading that initial story, I was concerned that she was being persecuted for supporting the troops, and if that was indeed the case, I would consider it a violation of the free speech clause in our Constitution.

Now, from the associated press comes a similar story, but this time a homeowners association is objecting to a Christmas wreath in the shape of a peace sign.

I suppose, given the content of this story I should call it a holiday wreath instead of a Christmas wreath.

The homeowners association, in this case, insists the homeowner is not being persecuted for being against the "war in Iraq", but is simply in violation of homeowners association rules.

But, just to show everyone that I am consistent in my beliefs, I believe the homeowners association is wrong in the larger sense that the homeowner is free to express himself anyway he wants to in accordance with the constitution.

Even if the sentiment is anti-American, which in this case, arguably, isn't.

On the other hand, I also believe that when a homeowner signs a contract to abide by the rules of a homeowners association, (even if they are stupid rules) it is generally assumed that the said homeowner has read and understood the rules and agreed with them before signing the agreement.

If so, the homeowners association is perfectly within it's rights to determine what displays on the homeowner's home are appropriate and which are not.

I said essentially the same when the display was a patriotic one.

I really believe homeowners associations are a violation of the Constitution. Any association or individual that stifles anyone's free speech rights is violating the Constitution.


FrenziedFeline said...

I saw that story and can't believe it. What part of "Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men" do they not understand?

While I probably wouldn't pick the peace symbol as a Christmas decoration, I can totally see the owner's side of it.

I do belong to an association (it's hard to find places that don't have them in our area), but they've been pretty reasonable so far.

Francis Lynn said...

I disagree that it's a violation of the Constitution. Two parties freely enter into a contractual agreement. No ones' rights are being infringed upon. Caveat Emptor.

Goat said...

Hey Mark,
Congrats' on the the new home! Mine was a 'fixer' as well and the pride grows with each new repair and flower planted. It is a slow labor of love with much pain but worth every second. I am happy for you and if you need any advice, don't be afraid to ask, it's my living. Advice is free, labor????? LOL

Goat said...

Don't even get me started on HOAs, that is why I bought in unincorporated county. I pay fees for undeveloped property I own on a golf course, Pop's, so I know your grief.

Lone Ranger said...

I checked out a few homeowners association sites after reading your post. Some of them were really funny. According to this one it looks like many of them could be prosecuted under RICO laws.

Jim said...

Liberal that I am, I believe that the First Amendment rights to free speech applies to infringement by governments.

As the Dixie Chicks can attest, "free speech" has consequences unrelated to government infringement.

I was president of a homeowners association. It's all about property values. That's the primary objective of the HOA board. Rules are rules though they can be amended. The problem is bending the rules is a judgement call and you get into real trouble when you bend for some and not for others.

Nobody forces someone to sign the CCRs.

Goat said...

Speaking of HOAs, I just paid a $100 "voluntary" assessment I had zero voice in for "legal" fees. It is a nice lot so I deal with it but it is intrinsically not very fair.

Poison Pero said...

HOA's suck, and I've had my share of run-ins with mine, but at the end of the day Francis Lynn is correct.

We choose where to live, and I chose an area with an HOA.....For all the good and bad it does. And trust me, I've went many rounds with mine. Won some, lost some.