The Holiday season has officially arrived! Adopting a Holiday Lights/Decorations policy can be a great way to encourage the community to embrace the spirit of the Holidays, while also regulating lights and decorations to ensure consistency and equal treatment amongst the membership.

The following are several suggestions for your community’s Holiday Lights/Decorations Policy:

• Avoid a total ban on holiday decorations – most courts will consider a ban unreasonable;
• Ensure that any holiday related rules are applied equally to all residents within the community;
• Survey the community or hold a public meeting to obtain resident’s opinions about decorations before enacting restrictions;
• Set specific time limits for decorations and holiday lighting (for example, after Thanksgiving to January 8);
• To avoid a risk of fire, ask residents to avoid overloading electrical circuits with holiday lighting;
• Remind residents that electrical cords are dangerous and require that owners place the cords out of the reach of children;
• Require that lights be rated for outdoor use with no exposed wiring;
• Set specific hours that lights and music can be turned on and off (by a certain hour every night, for example 10 p.m.), provide a maximum brightness for lights, and provide a maximum decibel level for the music;
• Remind residents of the decorating policy and safety requirements in the association’s newsletter, web site and bulletin board;
• Form a committee to decorate the common areas (if necessary, residents can donate lights and decorations);
• Sponsor a holiday decorating contest to build community spirit and offer donated prizes and/or recognition in a news -letter or web site to the winner; and
• Create a policy on “Haunted Houses” or other holiday related events in homes which are open to the public.

Implementation and enforcement of an adopted policy will ensure that your community enjoys the Holidays in a safe and responsible manner. Happy Holidays!