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Holiday lights are one of the season’s simple pleasures—or at least you would think so. Conflicts can arise when HOAs seek to regulate the community’s seasonal decorations. Can they do that? How can you find out what the rules are, and how can you appeal to change regulations you feel are unfair?

HOA holiday lighting restrictions in Arizona can be a minefield of differing opinions and regulations, but once you know the general rules, you’ll be able to navigate the season successfully.

Can HOAs regulate your decorations?

HOAs are in place to regulate any activities that might affect the neighborhood as a whole. This can and often does include the quantity and nature of outdoor seasonal décor. Just as an HOA has rules regarding upkeep of your exterior property, it can govern how you decorate for the holidays, including how long the lights can stay on each night or whether specific décor (such as inflatable decorations) is prohibited. Any rules should be listed in the Codes, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that you agreed to when you bought your property.

If you violate these rules, you may encounter consequences, such as warnings, fines or suspended member rights. On the other hand, your HOA may take no action whatsoever. The risk rests upon you as a homeowner, so it will behoove you to make an informed decision.

How can you find out what the rules are?

The best way to learn the rules is to check your CC&Rs to see if there’s anything that governs whether you can decorate, and how. You might find that you’re limited to a single strand of string lights, or you might learn that your HOA doesn’t care, as long as everything comes down by January 2.

How can you appeal for change?

There are three things you can do if the HOA holiday lighting restrictions chafe. First, talk to your neighbors about their experience, and whether they find that the rules are strictly enforced. Second, consider going before the board to petition for a rule change. You may want to gather support among neighbors first, if possible. Many HOA members find that this is an effective and respectful way of raising the issue.

However, because you agreed to the CC&Rs when you moved in, you are bound to abide by them—and if the HOA board is resistant, you might need to go to court to challenge the rules. Ultimately, it is up to you whether the effort you put forth is worth the potential end result, or if it’s better to take your decorations inside.

Goodman Holmgren Smith has years of experience navigating HOA holiday lighting restrictions in Arizona. Our practice focuses on HOA law in three major areas: collections, compliance enforcement and general counsel services. Whether you need seasonal guidance or year-round assistance, we can help you manage your HOA efficiently and in compliance with all applicable state and local laws. Reach out to us today to find out more or schedule a consultation.