Many homeowners likely have already gotten into the full spirit of the holidays and put up lights, decorations, and religious displays outside their home. If you live in a community association, you might be asking yourself: 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?

Many community associations have a holiday and religious display rule that answers these questions. If your community is looking to update its rule or adopt a new one, it should be easy for residents to follow and simple to enforce.

The rulemaking process should involve the entire community. First, have the architectural review or rules committee poll board members and residents to discover their preferences as they begin drafting the initial rule. Second, be sure to consult with your community manager and association attorney, as they can help ensure your policy is consistent with the governing documents as well as state and local laws.

Among other considerations, the association may want to decide:

  • How long lights and decorations can stay up before enforcing fines (such as two weeks after the holiday)
  • The types of decorations homeowners can have on their individual properties so that they are not inappropriate or become a nuisance for neighbors
  • The decorations that can go in common areas, if any

After the board has reviewed the policy drafted by the designated committee, distribute copies of the proposed language for all residents to review, and incorporate concerns or suggestions, if applicable, before holding a vote to enact the new rule or amend an existing holiday decoration policy.

Developing a rule doesn’t have to be a complicated or controversial process. To educate community association residents and the volunteer homeowners serving on their association board, follow CAI’s Homeowners Guide for Holiday Decorations, designed with tips for creating and managing holiday displays.

We hope these tips benefit your community’s rulemaking process so that you can spend time enjoying the holidays with your neighbors.

  • Amy Repke

    Amy Repke brings over 20 years of experience to CAI serving as the organization's vice president of communications and marketing. Amy's communications career began in television news where she worked as a producer, writer, and assignment manager for both local and network news channels. In 2013, Amy launched a communications and marketing firm, consulting with clients representing political, financial services, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations. Amy has been nominated for four Washington Regional Emmy awards for writing and producing. Amy is a graduate of Old Dominion University and received a master's degree in Strategic Public Communications from American University.

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