With the mention of the colors red, white and blue, our immediate thought goes to the symbol of our freedom: The American Flag. In upcoming celebrations for our Nations’ birthday, we will see our ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ flying in the wind along streets, on flagpoles and in our neighborhoods. The flag is the most recognized symbol of The United States of America and we feel pride and honor when we display it for all to see. With white signifying purity and innocence; red representing hardiness and valor; and blue expressing vigilance, perseverance, and justice, we are reminded of its historical significance and the lives that were lost to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. Before we decorate our yards to show our patriotism, let us remember that not only should the flag be flown with the utmost respect, but we also want to respect our neighbors as well.
According to the ‘Freedom to Display the American Flag Act’, there is no condo board, housing co-op, or residential real estate management group that can restrict a person’s right to display the American Flag on their own residential property, as long as it follows federal law. But before we display our flag we should look at our HOA guidelines. Neighborhood associations are allowed to set up “reasonable” restrictions based on how they want the neighborhood to look. Restrictions can include ‘time, location, and manner of display of flags’ and flagpoles. Know what your neighborhood HOA requires.
Be familiar with your HOA rules, but here are a few federal guidelines you might not know when displaying the flag. The Federal Flag Code states that when flying the U.S. flag, it should always be above all other flags or hung to the far left if the flags are side by side. If you wish to hang the flag vertically or horizontally, the union (the blue area) should be to the observers left and at the very top of the flag. The union on the flag should never be facing down when hanging, because in doing so it signifies a distress call for danger to life or property. The flag should never be draped over something such as a car or porch and should not be used for covering the ceiling. At times to respect the memory of a person in government or service that has died, the President will order that the flag will be flown at half-staff. The flag is also lowered on a few specific days. In North Carolina the official days to fly the flag half- staff are as follows: Peace Officers Memorial Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Patriot Day and Pearl Harbor Day. If the flag becomes dirty or tattered, it should be replaced and the old one retired or burned out of respect. For a complete list of advisories and guidelines visit http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30243.pdf. Most likely a government official will not come knocking on your door if you do not follow the federal guidelines, but your HOA may if the flag display is violating the neighborhood ordinances.
See this great article concerning HOA guidelines for display of the flag at http://www.hoaleader.com/public/139.cfm.
Also, see the North Carolina State Government Flag Guide at: http://www.doa.nc.gov/facility/documents/flagbrochure.pdf
This blog article is simply meant as informational to the reader and is in no way meant as legal advice or interpretation of the law in any form.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.