Freedom to Display the American Flag in an HOA Community

By: Christopher R. Moore, Esq.

The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act is unique among our list of federal laws impacting HOA’s in that it is expressly addressed to homeowners associations.  The law prohibits common interest communities from adopting or enforcing policies, or entering into agreements, “that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association..."

The statute applies to displays on a member’s own property and gives associations some flexibility to restrict the time, place, and means of the flag’s display, as long as the restrictions are reasonable. Congress also made a point of saying that the law does not protect any display that would violate the U.S. Flag Code, 4 USC §1, et. seq.  So, associations are free to prevent members from displaying the flag in a disrespectful or vulgar manner.