Betty has some questions about flying the American flag at condos.
I am in a new condo development, where we are developing rules. Each building is a duplex of 2 patio homes. Can we restrict the display to one flag per duplex mounted on a specific wall shared by both units? Given the design, there is no room to display a flag near the front door or patio. Also, can the association require, at the homeowners expense, that a specific bracket be used and installed by an approved contractor? Surface is brick, placement is crucial and proper drill bits are needed to preserve the integrity if the brick.
Hi Betty. The condo development is very smart to consider these ideas in a pro-active way. The goal of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 was protect both the homeowners and property management, but there are still problems in execution.
The law protects each homeowner, so limiting a duplex to one (shared) flag would be a violation of the law. And I think there would be problems with ownership, responsibility, maintenance, et cetera with a shared flag. The owner in Side A might be willing to buy the best flag available, and the owner in Side B might be satisfied with buying a flag from a road-side vendor.
Certainly the condo association can enact specific rules regarding installing a flag mount, but if the rules are onerous, they will be challenged. As you are doubtless aware, there have been numerous stories this summer about homeowners running afoul of their HOA over flying the American flag. The negative publicity to the HOAs and management companies has been terrible, even when they were in compliance with the law, and the homeowner was not.
A necessary tension exists between the homeowner and the HOA or condo association. The homeowner’s right to display an American flag is absolute, but the “management” has a fiduciary responsibility to the entire development, and does have the right to set reasonable standards.
What if the condo development association bought top-quality flag mounts and installed them at each condo, precisely where they wanted them, as a courtesy to each homeowner. If the homeowner doesn’t want to display a flag—no problem (just ignore the flag mount), and for those who want to fly a flag, the flag mount is already there. The condo standards are maintained, and the homeowner has a choice in his flag purchase.
For what it’s worth, the facings on garage doors are a popular area for flag mounts. I see it quite often in condo and townhouse locations.
The text of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 can be found in Section 5 of the U.S. Flag Code.