Being part of a homeowners' association can mean giving up some freedoms you would otherwise have if you lived on separate property without the confines of condo boards and HOAs. This could include certain religious-related freedoms.
If you are religious, then you will want to be especially thorough when reviewing the rules before buying a home in a condo or HOA. Failure to do so could lead to some frustrating and upsetting disputes that make it difficult to enjoy your home and feel comfortable expressing yourself.
Limitations and gray areas
In Florida, there is a statute that specifically limits the display of religious objects in condominiums. That statute notes that an association can limit owners with regard to religious objects that are larger than 1.5 inches deep, 3 inches wide and 6 inches high. They can also refuse requests to display these objects in all areas except mantels and unit door frames.
Condo associations can also prohibit religious gatherings in common areas.
Rules for HOAs may be different, so it is crucial for potential homeowners to review their association documents thoroughly before agreeing to anything.
Get all agreements in writing
Not all HOAs or boards will take a firm stance on religious objects or gatherings. Some might consider them on a case-by-case basis. In these situations, make sure you get in writing any permissions or agreements you receive. Doing so can be crucial if another homeowner complains or if an inspection triggers financial penalties.
Talk to an attorney if a dispute arises
Religious disputes are often highly contentious, as people on all sides of the issue can be passionate about protecting their rights. As such, it can be crucial to consult an attorney experienced in resolving complicated HOA and condo disputes if you have questions or concerns regarding religious expression and the freedoms you may or may not have in an association.