The American flag is an iconic symbol. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the flag also represents the history of the country. Furthermore, if you have served in the U.S. military or know someone who has, you may want to hoist the Stars and Stripes above your home. Can your homeowners’ association stop you from doing so?

Some HOAs have a reputation for being notoriously inflexible when it comes to exterior decorations. As such, your property’s governing body probably has a huge list of prohibited items. If that list includes the American flag, your HOA may be violating both federal and state law.

Federal law 

On July 24, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. This law prevents real estate management organizations, such as HOAs, from prohibiting homeowners from displaying the U.S. flag on their property. The law does allow HOAs to make reasonable restrictions on how property owners may display flags, provided the HOA has a substantial interest in doing so.

State law 

Florida law also protects the right of an HOA resident to display the American flag. Generally, you can fly the American flag on your property, provided the flag is no larger than 4.5 feet by 6 feet. You also must respectfully display the flag. Pursuant to Florida law, you may furthermore fly one additional flag that is the same or a smaller size as your American flag. This secondary flag must be from a branch of the U.S. military or the POW/MIA commemorative flag.

Even though your HOA may not want you to display the U.S. flag, you have a right to do so. Remember, though, your house’s governing authority may restrict the time, manner or location of your display for legally valid reasons. Still, by understanding your legal rights, you can better respond to an HOA’s demand that you remove your flag.