Sometimes advice on avoiding complications in community management is best served by a detailed legal analysis and other times it’s best to follow some conventional wisdom. The holiday season lends itself to the latter. While holidays are a time of celebration, such festivities can also create unique issues that community managers and boards may not expect. Social obligations, visiting relatives and familial expectations can uncover culture clashes in even the most well-functioning communities. The media often features stories about overzealous HOAs ruining the holidays with “silly” rules, but in our years of serving communities across the world, we’ve seen that the communities that abide by “golden rule” are the ones that have an incident-free holiday season.
Here are four tips for you and your community to follow when celebrating the holiday season:
- Association rules on holiday displays should focus on time, place and manner of decoration rather than on the type of display homeowners may choose to display.
- Enforcement should be consistent, fair and flexible.
- Decorations in the common areas should reflect the wide range of cultures and traditions within the association rather than focus on one specific religious or secular theme for the season.
- Holidays make a great time to highlight traditions from other faiths and cultures through newsletters, community discussions or other social gatherings.
Each community association has a unique culture that arises from its residents, their backgrounds and preferences. The holiday season is a great time to highlight those unique traits and create a celebration that promotes a festive atmosphere and builds community.