Four Ways to Maintain the Holiday Spirit While Enforcing Your Condo Association’s Decorating Policies

Posted on Tuesday November 29, 2016

Just as in other types of communities, residents who live in condominiums love to decorate for the holidays. Putting up the same decorations year after year is one way to continue traditions and to create community. However, when you live in a condo association, there are also rules about what you can and can’t put up. And when you are a board member, you want to ensure that condo owners are following those rules.
But what’s the best approach to enforce your association rules about décor without putting a damper on holiday celebrations?  Just follow these four tips, and your condominium community will look tactfully festive.
  1. Make your restrictions reasonable.
Residents will generally accept holiday decorating rules that restrict such things as the quantity of decorations, when they can be displayed and how long they can be displayed. Prevent residents from leaving their décor up well beyond a holiday by establishing appropriate start and end dates for each holiday. Also implement rules regarding hours for holiday lighting so that no one has to deal with lights shining all night long. 

However, one thing you should avoid are any policies that restrict religiously oriented displays. Not only can this upset specific groups in your condo community, but it can open your association to legal action. Most importantly, your rules should help to ensure that residents show respect and consideration for each other.
  1. Apply the rules fairly and consistently.
It’s important to be fair when you apply the rules. That first requires that you have an in-depth understanding of your governing documents. Regardless of how strict or lenient your association’s decorating policies may be, you must enforce them consistently for everyone and across all holidays. Above all, make sure that no one is allowed to put up decorations that could potentially create safety hazards.

Decorating policies will be easier to enforce if you communicate them clearly to residents prior to every holiday. You can do this by sending out emails or letters, or by posting a notice on your website. Also be sure to let new residents know your policies when they first move into the community. A professional condominium management company can help ensure that your communication program effectively informs all residents about your policies.
  1. Allow for differences.
One resident’s idea of beautiful décor may seem appalling to another. Likewise, blinking lights may feel festive to your neighbor but annoying to you. The bottom line is that “tasteful” has a different meaning for everyone. Stay away from trying to regulate aesthetics—unless, of course, everyone in the community is having an issue with one condo owner’s style. 
  1. Don’t allow homeowners to decorate common areas without permission.
When it comes to your common areas, the rule is simple: No decorating without the board’s permission. The association can face liability and safety issues. Be sure that residents understand this important rule.

If residents decide that they would like to decorate your lobby, clubhouse or other common area, make sure that your board sets the standards and that the decorators understand that they must use non-religious décor. For example, in the winter they could put up wreaths and holiday lights. In the springtime, fresh flowers would be a nice addition.
Make all your holidays happier by sticking to these simple guidelines. Want more decorating guidance? Reach out to FirstService Residential, the leading condo management company in Alberta.

It can be difficult to know who to call when a problem arises in the community. When should you call the manager? Do your residents know who to call when problems or issues arise in the community?

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