It’s Christmas time – time to get in trouble with your association?

By Jan Bergemann

Published December 7, 2012


In case you want to get in trouble with your association about Christmas decorations, just watch the movie “Christmas Vacation” and follow Chevy Chase ’s example. You can be sure neighbors, board members and the community association manager will be after you – and the association attorney gets some lucrative billing hours for Christmas.


But even if you totally forego Christmas decorations, you can get in serious trouble with your neighbors – remember Tim Allen in “Christmas with the Kranks?


According to these really funny movies, you can get in trouble, no matter which way you go: Going overboard or doing nothing – there seems to be no one-fits-all solution.


So before you start decorating your home to get everybody in the Christmas spirit, make sure you read the rules of your association and follow them – even if you think they are absolutely stupid or infringe on your rights of freedom of speech!


If you love Christmas decorations and think it’s an old American tradition to decorate your home on the outside, you will soon realize at Christmas time that you gave up a lot of your “rights” when you bought a home in a mandatory homeowners’ association.


Since the rules and regulations regarding Christmas decorations are very vague in most associations, you may get into trouble, no matter which route you chose to go. Because the fact is that it often depends on the taste of your neighbors – you know, the ones who are board members and/or your association manager --  to determine what is and what isn’t allowed, each year the media has a lot to write about all the fights in associations over Christmas decorations.


Do these legal wars about Christmas decorations make sense? Definitely not! Does it improve your property values if your community monitors each owner’s Christmas decorations? Definitely not! Does it improve neighborly relations? Definitely not!


But we see it happen every year – and it seems that association attorneys are looking forward to the Christmas bonus they receive from these Christmas decoration wars each year.


Let there be peace on Earth – and enjoy the holidays – without starting a fight with your neighbors about how many decorations are allowed for Christmas! Let there be peace!

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Jan Bergemann

Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website:

Educational Website:

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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