Christmas Decorations; Where's the Line?

By Buddy Whitaker 

Published December 20, 2013


Whether you are in a condo or homeowner's association, most boards eventually have a discussion Christmas or holiday decorations.  There are a few questions you can pose to help steer you in the right direction.


What do your governing documents say?

Most document allow for decorations in certain areas; for example units or lawns.  But they don't allow a member to put decorations on common elements.


Many residential associations don't allow signs so the board will need to determine if the item is in fact a decoration or a sign.  If the item has wording, I would ask myself, "Does this item correlate with an upcoming holiday?"  This item could be viewed as a sign or as a decoration if it pertains to a holiday.


What precedent has been set or established?

How have previous boards handled the situation?  Or what signs/decorations have been allowed or have gone unnoticed?  Setting precedent by not enforcing the covenants can create arguments or upset homeowners because they feel as though others may be getting preferential treatment.  Be cognizant of decisions and exceptions made in the past as they may be brought up in the future.


If this will be a battle, is this one you want to fight?

How far are you willing to go when the decoration may only be up for 30 days?  Is it going to be a calm situation or people going to take it personally and get on a soap box?  Here in the south we have some people that are very passionate about their beliefs.  They become very hostile if they feel their beliefs are being threatened or discriminated against.


All of these questions need to be weighed and evaluated before a decision is made.  Please don't make a decision based on emotion and try to remain as neutral as possible.  This will hopefully keep some peace in your association around the holidays.


Make a great day.

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Buddy Whitaker truly enjoys being an insurance professional. His condominium association client's appreciate his attention to detail. The fact that he has practically

committed the Georgia Condominium Act to memory helps. 

In his words, "My objective is to be the resource and trusted advisor that my clients want to turn to for guidance. I strive to either know the answer or know where to find it."

Creative Solutions: As a student of condo association (COA) insurance, Buddy has forged specialized programs that address the unique exposures of multi-family residential structures.

His solutions juggle the need to keep overall costs down, both for the unit owner and the association, while making sure that coverage remains as broad as possible.

COA Focused: He's leveraged his 6 years in the insurance industry; as the director of continuing education for Metro Alliance of Independent Insurance Agents, board position on his own condo association, and study of the Georgia Condo Act and condo declarations.  This transitioned into understanding of the COA sector, the nature of the claims,  methods of managing the risk, and the complex relationships among board members, unit owners, and property managers.

Insurance isn't just a job for Buddy, it is a passion.  That said, he also enjoys a round of golf, experimenting in the kitchen, and DIY projects around his home. He's also a loving husband and a proud father of a brand new baby girl.

Contact Buddy via email or visit Hamby & Aloisio's website.