HOA Flag Disputes Serve as Reminder to HOA Managers/Boards

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As flag disputes between homeowners and homeowner associations (HOAs) garner national attention around the country, these conflicts serve as reminders to community association managers and HOA boards about the need to have rules that are clear, enforced in an equitable manner and comply with state statues - according to the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM). NBC-CAM is an independent board that develops certification (known as the CMCA – Certified Manager of Community Associations®) and standards for community association managers.

The recent situations involving flying of the Gadsden flag in covenant-protected communities in Arizona and Colorado underscore the need for community association management practitioners to have specialized knowledge and skills.

As flag disputes between homeowners and homeowner associations (HOAs) garner national attention around the country, these conflicts serve as reminders to community association managers and HOA boards about the need to have rules that are clear, enforced in an equitable manner and comply with state statues - according to the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM). NBC-CAM is an independent board that develops certification (known as the CMCA – Certified Manager of Community Associations®) and standards for community association managers.

“The recent situations involving flying of the Gadsden flag in covenant-protected communities in Arizona and Colorado underscore the need for community association management practitioners to have specialized knowledge and skills,” said Dawn Bauman, executive director of NBC-CAM. “Because many states have complex statutes regarding homeowners’ rights in relation to their HOA, many HOA boards choose CMCAs to manage their communities.

Both Arizona and Colorado have legislation, known as “homeowner bill of rights,” that dictate what HOAs can and cannot allow with regard to the flying of flags and other forms of expression, including the display of political yard signs.

Bauman also suggests HOA boards and community managers develop a “checklist” they can review to ensure there is clarity with homeowners on rules like flag flying and political yard signs. The checklist may include:

  • Does the current rule comply with state, local and federal laws?
  • Does the rule fully address the issue? For example, if the rule is related to the display of flags, does it include architectural guidelines for display of the flag and issues related to the flag pole?
  • Can the rule be enforced easily and equitably?
  • Is the rule acceptable to residents? Rules are developed by neighbors for neighbors and it is important to ensure that the rule is acceptable to the residents.

“While each community and individual situation may have unique details, community association managers must recognize that they are dealing with individual’s homes and personal passions,” said Robert Felix, CMCA, chair of NBC-CAM and senior vice president of Rossmar & Graham Management in Scottsdale, Arizona. Felix has more than 30 years experience in the community association management field.

“It is important that professional managers encourage a sense of reasonableness when developing and enforcing community association rules,” he added.

NBC-CAM is a 15-year-old independent board that develops certification and standards for community association managers. We administer the CMCA examination, a rigorous, three-hour test that measures managers’ knowledge of community management best practices. Passing the CMCA examination and maintaining the standards of the CMCA certification is proof that a manager is a knowledgeable, ethical and professional. CMCA-certified managers have the skills to safeguard the assets of homeowners’ associations, giving homeowners peace of mind and protecting home values. For more information, go to http://www.nbccam.org.

Contact: Dawn M. Bauman, CAE
703.797.6287
Dbauman(at)nbccam(dot)org

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Dawn Bauman
NBC-CAM
703-797-6287
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