Nov 30, 2023

Creating a Safe and Festive Holiday Season in Your Community

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Orr - CEO, Community Association Management Services

Homeowner’s associations (HOAs) are crucial in fostering a sense of community and maintaining property values. As the holiday season approaches, board members must strike a balance between promoting festive cheer and upholding the guidelines in the governing documents. This article will go over tips to make your community’s holiday season a great one.

Reviewing Governing Documents
The first step for HOA board members is to revisit their governing documents. These documents may contain guidelines or rules and regulations regarding holiday decorations. However, if your governing documents don’t speak to holiday decorations, they may empower the board to create a new policy. By thoroughly understanding and communicating the rules, board members can help ensure a harmonious and visually appealing holiday season for all residents.

Communication is Key
Proactively notify residents about the existing rules on holiday decorations. Sending early reminders is essential to allow homeowners sufficient time to plan and adorn their homes in accordance with the community guidelines. A friendly email or letter can help prevent unintentional compliance issues and contribute to a cohesive holiday aesthetic. 

When establishing a policy (according to the authority in the covenants) or going by an existing decoration policy, board members may address things like what types of lights and inflatables can be displayed, rules that refer to noise, or a timing limit on when to put up and take down decorations.

What if residents are complaining about their neighbor’s decorations? If no rule is being violated, encourage neighbors to express their concerns directly to each other and try to come to an amicable agreement.

Fostering Community Engagement
While adherence to rules is crucial, promoting community engagement during the holiday season adds a special touch to the neighborhood. Consider organizing events such as a festive cookie exchange or a donation drive for your favorite local charity. These activities not only enhance the community spirit but also provide an opportunity for residents to connect and celebrate the season together. 

Board members can also take the lead by tastefully decorating common areas, ensuring the decorations align with the community's diverse preferences. Safety is paramount when decorating, so be sure that everyone is mindful of what to (and what not to) do. For example, the board may want to inform residents of some general safety guidelines, like making sure any real trees are away from heat sources and using proper equipment when hanging decorations.  Ensure that service providers are properly insured so that there will be no liability to the association for injuries resulting from hanging lights in trees or ladder accidents.

Utilizing the Community Management Company
To facilitate smooth communication and enforcement of holiday decoration guidelines, board members can leverage the support of their community management company. Community managers can assist in sending e-blasts, reminding residents of the rules, and encouraging compliance. Their expertise ensures that the enforcement process remains uniform and consistent so that animosity can be kept to a minimum and the spirit of the season can prevail.

In conclusion, navigating the holiday season in an HOA involves a delicate balance between upholding rules and fostering a sense of community. By reviewing governing documents, communicating rules early, encouraging community engagement, and seeking support from community management, board members can ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for all residents.

About Community Association Management Services
In business since 1991, CAMS is North and South Carolina’s premier community management company. With experienced local managers in each of its nine regions, CAMS provides innovative solutions to the community associations it serves. Additionally, CAMS was featured on Inc. Magazine’s 2022 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. To learn more, visit www.camsmgt.com/choose-cams.

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