Ormond Beach, FL asked in Constitutional Law and Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: Is a homeowner entitled to fly a political flag as well as an American flag?

I received a letter from the HOA stating that under Florida Statue 720.304, I am not entitled to fly a political flag along with my American flag

3 Lawyer Answers
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
Answered
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: It is not clear what is meant by a "political flag". The statute quoted permits "up to two of the following portable, removable flags, not larger than 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet":

"1. The United States flag.

2. The official flag of the State of Florida.

3. A flag that represents the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, or Coast Guard.

4. A POW-MIA flag.

5. A first responder flag."

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
Answered
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Florida Statute Section 720.304 is clear and understandable; you do not need a lawyer to interpret it. You can easily find it online, and here's the official web page for it: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0720/Sections/0720.304.html

That statute describes the kinds of flags that an HOA may not prohibit. If it's not on that list, the HOA may prohibit any flags it wishes, as long as validly makes a bylaw or rule on the subject. By "validly", I mean that it follows its bylaws and Fla. Statutes for the procedures for doing so, which would of course include proper notice to the residents for meeting, vote, and other procedures for getting it done. You may request the records regarding the passage of that bylaw or rule. If a rule, there must be a document with the minutes of the meeting at which it was passed. If you don't like a particular bylaw or rule, there are ways to get it changed, which would entail getting the support of a large percentage of the residents.

By the way, there can be no Freedom of Speech challenge to such a bylaw of rule because the HOA is a private entity, not the government. When you join a HOA, you are basically saying, "In exchange for the services and protection that you, the HOA, will provide to me, I will comply with all restrictions on the properties that the HOA feels like imposing." For that reason, many people choose to reside in a non-HOA neighborhood.

James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Under Florida Statute 720.304, homeowners in a homeowners association (HOA) are allowed to display one portable, removable U.S. flag or official flag of Florida. The statute further permits the display of flags representing the Armed Forces of the United States on specific holidays.

However, the same statute does not explicitly grant the right to display political flags. HOAs often have guidelines and covenants regarding the display of flags and other signs. If you're receiving pushback from your HOA, it's essential to review the association's governing documents in conjunction with the statute.

While you have the right to fly the U.S. flag, the HOA may impose restrictions on other flags based on their covenants. If you feel your rights are being infringed upon, consider seeking legal counsel to discuss your specific situation and rights under both Florida law and your HOA's regulations.

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