Condo communities are home to many traditions including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve, and Chinese New Year.
These traditions generally include parties, activities, lights and ornaments. It can be challenging to figure out how to celebrate holidays in a community with people of different backgrounds, faiths and cultural traditions living under one roof.
Allowing residents to make common areas look festive and merry is part of holiday celebrations. It is acceptable for communities to have rules about what, where and when decorations can be hung or placed in common areas. What appears on doors, elevators, balconies and other common areas is controlled by the condo board.
Observance of traditions and allowances for decorations should be perceived as both equal and fair.
Condo rules should communicate what is allowable in terms of decorations including locations and timing. Rules should be sufficiently general to reflect all holidays. Restrictions on specific decorations, including those relating to a particular holiday, can be viewed as discriminatory and should be avoided unless there are safety considerations or anything that may be defamatory.
One person’s decoration may be another’s eyesore. While condo corporations should not be regulating specific decorations they can impose rules governing the size of any display, where it can be placed and when it must be taken down. There may be rules about how displays can be affixed to avoid damage to common areas.
After holidays and celebrations are complete, anything placed on or in common areas should be removed by those who placed them.
Allowing residents to deviate from condo rules when it comes to holiday decorations is risky. Once one exception has been made, others may demand similar accommodation or choose to ignore similar rules which may become unenforceable. It doesn’t take long before people do what they want regardless of rules.
It is impossible to make everyone happy. Some residents will find corporation rules too restrictive or overly broad. It is necessary for these rules to be in place so residents are aware of limitations to what they can do when celebrating their holidays.