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Halloween will kick off holiday season in a few short weeks, and it is the perfect excuse for setting up fun decorations. Decorations can be a great way to spread holiday cheer or even have some friendly competition with neighbors, but if you live in a neighborhood that is governed by an HOA, you might have some surprise restriction on what you can actually decorate.

If you own a condo or a house that is part of an HOA, you’ve already agreed to abide by the rules established by the board, and some of those rules include guidelines on exterior decoration. These often dictate what kinds of decorations you can have and how long they can stay up. Every HOA differs in its preferences, but the most common rules they have concern how long decorations can stay up and how appropriate the decorations are, wanting to avoid anything that would offend other members of the community. In addition, there may be restrictions on what color your lights can be, or if you are allowed to have inflatable lawn decorations or not. If you suspect that your HOA is going to have restrictions on the types of decorations you can use, it is best to look up their specific guidelines or the punishments for breaking the rules so that you don’t find yourself in trouble for trying to spread holiday cheer.