Religious Beliefs and Patriotism may Conflict with Condo Rules

December 2016

Religious beliefs and patriotism can conflict with condo rules.

Real Christmas trees are often prohibited due to fire hazard concerns and the cost of cleaning common areas. Christmas wreaths may also be prohibited for similar reasons.

Other common decorations that may be contentious include:

  • Christmas decorations
  • Crosses
  • Mezuzah on outer doorpost – a small ritual item that contains biblical text on parchment – as prescribed in Jewish Law
  • Sukkah on balconies – a temporary hut used for religious purposes
  • National flags which are a popular decoration during international sporting events. The exception to this is displaying the Canadian flag which is encouraged in the National Flag Act of Canada.

It is common for condo corporations to have a rule prohibiting the placement or fixing of items outside of condo suites. This may be combined with a requirement that board approval must be received before anything is placed on the common elements.

Issues tend to arise when items are displayed on the outside of doors to condo suites, balconies and exterior windows; all of which are part of common elements.

Condo boards need to establish rules that are practical and reasonable. Consistency in enforcement helps ensure there is no mistaken impression of bias.

Rules against placement of items in common areas and/or within condo suites may be appropriate for reasons that include consistency, maintaining property values or safety.