Condo, Strata and HOA News

Tag Archives: patriotism

Canadian Law Would Allow Condo Owners to Fly Flag In Face Of By-Laws

Ahhh, another person who feels that patriotism requires legislative support to survive. In Canada, Conservative MP John Carmichael has tabled a private members bill that will “protect the rights of Canadians to fly their national flag where they live.”  Ghaaa – really? Is patriotism in such a short shift that it requires legislation to ensure condo owners can display a flag on their balcony or in their window? Nay I say. Nay.

I will always stand on guard for Canada. I’ll do that forever, even without the need of being reminded by flags from my neighbour’s condominiums.

Patriotism Is an Invalid Reason to Break Bylaws

The bylaws of condominiums, HOAs, and stratas exist to manage the common property related to the development – the hallways, walls, grounds, parkades and amenities. It’s a document that builds a simple and usable framework of rules that allows for multiple owners to make collective decisions on how to fund, manage, and maintain the infrastructures that isn’t exclusive to their use (like their unit).

In managing and maintaining the common property, bylaws also include some limitations on the activities and rights of the owners on how they can use these common elements. In particular – they limit owner expression on common property, and prevent owners from monopolizing any amenities.  You could imagine in a building of 200 that all the owners may not share the same political outlook, and instead of creating complex rules for displaying political messages on common property the bylaws simply restrict any political expression.

That’s why I always chaff at the use of patriotism as grounds to violate the bylaws. Patriotism, by nature, is a political expression. Even people who are equally patriotic can disagree on what is a fair or true expression of loving one’s country. As such, though patriotism is an emotion well worth holding, it is not grounds for violating bylaws.

Auburn Meadows Property Owners Association is currently facing media heat for requiring a sign reading “My Son is Army Strong” (with a link advertising a military website) to be taken down, as it is in violation of their signage bylaws.

More telling is Crystal Chilcote’s (the infringing owner, along with her husband Glen) reasoning for the sign:

[the war in Afghanistan] has just been going on for so long that people are totally disconnected unless they’re directly involved with their family members being gone.

a statement that clarifies the political call to action Crystal and Glen are making with the sign.

I would encourage the Auburn Meadows Property Owners Association to be “Community Strong” and support all their owners’ divergent political views by enforcing their bylaws, and ignore one owner from bullying them by claiming patriotism.

You Can Be Patriotic – Just Without the Flag

Condominiums have both upsides and downsides. In a previous post I’ve indicated my dislike of sections of my bylaws. They are draconian. None the less, they are norms that I am required to meet, and I was aware of them before buying into the condominium because I was given the bylaws for review.

In Tennessee Dawn Kamin is flying a flag in disregard of her condominium bylaws.

Fox News seems to be making hay with this issue because it’s an American flag (Fox loves the American flag). I would be quite interested to see Fox News response to this story if the flag was a foreign nationality, the white flag of surrender, the United Nations flag, or a multi-coloured rainbow. I don’t think there would be quite a show in the news about poor, downtrodden, owners being subjugated by their condominium.

There is really one way for this to be solved in the owner’s favour – to convince her fellow owners to update the bylaws and include the right to fly the national flag. Otherwise Dawn, patriotic none the less, is out of bounds.

It doesn’t matter the nature of the flag, just that the flag isn’t allowed under the condominium bylaws. Love it or leave it – living in a condominium adds a whole additional layer of rules and regulations to how you live your life. In most cases, the rules will work fine with your life and style. If you really are focused on absolute individual freedoms then condominium living may not be for you.