Someone supposedly paints house like an American flag in protest of homeowners association (Update)

There’s a photo that’s been appearing in my news feed on Facebook. Quite a few of my Facebook friends have been posting it. It shows a house painted like an American flag. This is what appears in the Facebook post:

This man was told by his Homeowners Association that he couldn’t fly the American Flag in his yard. Click like if you think his response is a #win!

I’m not buying it. Sure, I believe someone really painted their house to look like an American flag, I just don’t believe they did it in protest towards their homeowners association.

For one thing, the home appears to be quite old. Homeowners associations exist almost exclusively in newer, planned neighborhoods. It wouldn’t surprise me if the home in the photo is one-hundred years old. I imagine getting people who live in older homes to retroactively join a homeowners association would be a lot like herding cats.

Secondly, it’s illegal for a homeowners association to bar someone from displaying the American flag. The federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, makes it illegal for a homeowners association to restrict homeowners from displaying the American flag on their property.

It’s literally a federal offense for a homeowners association to restrict flying the American flag.

Lastly, homeowners associations generally always have restrictions on what color or colors you can paint your house. If they have one rule, it’s that. The idea that a homeowners association would forbid someone from flying the American flag, but allow someone to paint their home like a flag, is absurd. It was made-up by someone who has never lived in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association.

I see something like this on Facebook and wonder how anyone could believe it.

UPDATE: Thanks to commentator Erin for posting a link to the real story behind this paint job. It had nothing to do with a homeowners association and flying the American flag and instead had everything to do with a guy acting like a jerk towards the local historical society.

Comments

  1. mike main says

    Congratulations !! To the person who actually defied those idiots running HOA’s.

    That kind of patriotic act is sorely needed in today’s society where we’ve become too politically correct… This person with the new paint job and clearly a sense “RIGHT”… is more like we all should be. Let him/her know that I have their back!!

  2. says

    Hey, thanks! I thought it was bunk when I read about it on Facebook. How ironic that it had less to do with the display of one’s patriotism and more about butting heads with the local historical society.

  3. says

    Where did I say federal law allows a homeowner to fly ANY flag ANYWHERE and ANYTIME they want? I never said that, nor did I insinuate it. Don’t put words in my mouth.

  4. Paula says

    Well I guess that link above proves that in fact it was done in real life as pay back to a HOA. Thank you Erin for the link and info. I was trying to hunt down.

  5. Natalie says

    You say it’s illegal for HOA to prevent you from flying the American flag yet in June of 2011 there was a veteran in Ohio that was fighting his HOA because they told him he couldn’t fly the american flag. So I really wouldn’t see this to be to far fetched. I know if my HOA told me some crap like that I would totally do what this guy did!

  6. Robb says

    As the president of my HOA for several years, I can tell you that if the CC&Rs are written that “no flags can be displayed”, then that is common law for the building. The federal law that you are referring to prevents an Association from picking and choosing acceptable flags or telling someone they can’t fly the flag because it’s offensive. But if the CC&Rs strictly state “no flags”, then the owner must abide by that or will face fines. My Association has that written, but we still allow America flags to be displayed (I for one have one outside my balcony).

  7. says

    @Robb: You’re incorrect. The federal law I referred to, the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, specifically states that an HOA cannot do what you’re saying they can do.

    Did you even notice the name of the bill?

  8. Peg Walz says

    I laughed when I saw all the comments. Someone sent me this today and I immediately said to myself “That house is way too old to be in a homeowners’ association.” Glad to find out the real story.

  9. yeah, that's what I thought says

    I knew this was b.s. from the start! Like you said, not only is the house obviously old but look at the neglected yard! People want to think that patriotism, religion, and marriage are under attack. My mom believes that the government tells private businesses that they can’t say Merry Christmas in privately owned businesses. She thinks that my daughter isn’t taught history properly in school, yet my daughter knows the answer to every single historical question mom can possibly lay on her.

  10. yeah, that's what I thought says

    @Natalie: The problem with this gentleman is that he bought a house in a neighborhood with a HOA (duh) and the thing that was against the rules was the flag pole. He could have hung it from his house, so it wasn’t the flag in question. Didn’t you read your own link? I, for one, would never buy a house in a neighborhood with a HOA. My neighbors have giant home-made metal sculptures and we think it’s a hoot!

  11. uchsamin says

    Right on to that guy. A true patriot.
    Why doesn’t the story include the names of the treasonist idiots who protested the flying of a American flag?
    Its time to kick them out of this country and let them enjoy a new life in Iraq?…………..

  12. HAWKi says

    Historical societies are local government run/backed de facto Home owners associations with all the trappings of do-gooders trying to tell people what they can or cannot do with their property…Except they have more teeth.

  13. Lisa says

    I believe it. I was in one that didn’t permit a lot of things; I didn’t stay long. I hope this man NEVER paints over the house: America is based on freedom and HE OWNES THAT HOUSE.

  14. S. Quade says

    I think you may be right about this being a private home with no association, but even if there’s an hoa involved or not viz this photo, actually there have been a number of cases of hoa objections to US flags or the flagpoles that people put up without getting permission. Not disputing anyone’s theory about the photo of this house (unless it’s fotoshopped?), but apparently flying the flag without permission in some townhome or condo developments has caused legal problems.

  15. says

    @S. Quade:

    but apparently flying the flag without permission in some townhome or condo developments has caused legal problems.

    Yes, for the HOA that tries to stop a member from displaying the American flag.

  16. Shawn says

    The flag law mentioned above does prevent an HOA or other similar body from making blanket bans on flags. In other words, An HOA CANNOT say NO American flags. But they can restrict the time, place and manner of displaying the flag. The Ohio case above, (and other similar cases) was in regards to a gentleman who WAS allowed to hang a flag on his property, but according to the HOA rules, only from a holder that protrudes from the house. He wanted to erect a vertical flag pole in his yard, which is against the HOA rules, which IS within their power under the federal law.

    Also, neither example of the “full story” above is from anything resembling a credible source, nor have I (in a few minutes of searching) been able to corroborate from a credible source. And they read like passed on urban myth. So I am extremely skeptical, except to agree that it seems VERY unlikely this house was part of an HOA.

    There was a similar incident in the town I live in, where a homeowner went up against a Historical Commission and would up responding in a way that resembles this.

    http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_74452384-8bdc-11df-b6a3-001cc4c002e0.html

    Click on the “john wisor” tag to read the entire story (instead of taking this one out of context). In my opinion he eventually rightfully won, and was allowed to tear down this probably not very historic house, and build his huge, but kind of garish (especially considering the neighborhood) dream house. It’s not exactly an eyesore (many disagree) but it certainly doesn’t fit.

  17. says

    I am the owner of this house, I painted this house to show that America does have true patriots left. This is the land of the free Because of the Brave. This is a “historical preservation commission” issue! Not HOA! Not very much different though. If you want the true stories, email me!! Let’s keep America free (try to make it free).

  18. Craig says

    Well actually there are HOA that govern OLDER neighborhoods it is called historical preservation commission. And yes if you google Houston and HOA and American flag you will see that one HOA did the exact same thing. There is pros and cons to HOA’s, some things they do is good, others just plain stupid. Most that run these are old farts that have nothing better to do than to mess with people. But it is YOUR choice if you purchase a home in one of these areas. I am sure you are given the oppertunity to read their rules before you purchase so it is YOUR responsibility to live by them. If you dont like their rules dont purchase a home in that neighborhood.
    Most HOA do well by keeping the dead vehicles out of the driveways, streets and yards, make you keep your house and front yard presentable and keeping the rifraff out of your hood. Again, its YOUR choice!

  19. Katie says

    Exactly! I live in a “Historical society” but we also have restrictions on the color paint we can use….this wouldn’t fly where I live.

  20. Katie says

    And people have to vote (or agree) to make their neighborhood a Historical Society. Just went through it in my town. Once it’s been voted on you’re locked. If your new and you move in to a Historical Society you’re still “locked in” to their rules and regulations. Kinda like agreeing but more formal.

  21. Katie says

    I agree. I live in a Historical Society and this would not be allowed. A Historical Society wants to preserve the historic feel of the town. The one I live in only allows you to use certain colors for paint, shutters, blinds etc. Don’t like it than live somewhere else, basically.

  22. Rik says

    It was not Ohio it was Florida and it wasn’t over flying the flag, it was over the Flagpole. he could have displayed the flag mounted to his house, but the HOA did not allow flagpoles in the grassed areas that they mowed.

  23. Rik says

    Branden I will email you for “your” side of the story if you also agree to provide me with the email address of the Historical Preservation Commission that you are fighting against, so I can get their side of the story also. Also Branden on here you state that you painted it to show America has true patriots left, on the Roadsideamerica.com article on it you stated that it was personal against people on the historical commission who were abusing their power. Also you talk like you are so proud of this house, yet it isn’t shown or mentioned on “your” website.

  24. Rik says

    Branden, as I did a bit more research in Forbes Magazine you state that the dispute was over the fact that you didn’t want to meet the Historical Preservation building codes for windows. Far cry from being a patriot.

  25. Whaven says

    I am with you Rick…..I just read the law and it’s pretty clear cut…the purpose of the law says and I quote:
    To ensure that the right of an individual to display the flag of the United States
    on residential property not be abridged.

  26. Whaven says

    @Shawn The law says any “reasonable” restriction pertaining to the time, place,
    or manner of displaying the flag of the United States necessary
    to protect a substantial interest of the condominium association,
    cooperative association, or residential real estate management
    association.

    I think that a blanket bans would not come under the banner of “reasonable”. And could be easily argued in a court of law. There are several cases where other group have used blanket restrictive policies to try and circumvent Federal law. Almost all of them fail to stand up to judicial review.

  27. Audrey says

    I live in one of these HOA communities, “the commitee” controls everything and everythng has to be put b/4 the HOA board. right down to the color you paint your house, if you need a locking mail box because of 2 robberies in 1 month that has to be approved right down to the post you put in the ground.
    i live in a lennar home in riverview fl in a subdivision called Pavilion!

  28. Jean says

    HOAs can’t stop you from flying the flag, but they can limit *how* you fly the flag. Most HOAs do not allow stand-alone flagpoles or large flagpoles with oversize flags. The two HOAs where I lived only allowed one small garden flag on a short wire stand, or US flags on a small diagonal or horizontal pole attached to the house.
    In the case of the veteran who wanted to fly the flag, he was trying to put up a HUGE, in-your-face stand-alone flagpole in the middle of his yard.

  29. Fred Martin says

    My sentiments exactly. The first thing I noticed it that the house looked a bit old for being in a community with a homeowner’s association. And the fact that hoas mostly restrict the way a house is painted caused the second doubt.

  30. Mary Withrow says

    A lady living in Maryland,said that the house was in the Old District. When he renovated the home he did not install windows to the correct specs. Since changing the windows was extremely costly he protested…….Dont know if this is true either, lol

  31. BrIaN says

    Jesus people? Why does it matter? The fact is its a flag! Thats good yet people want emails about who other strangers are fighting with. Instead of solving this not problem why dont you people get a life and use your free time for problems that actually matter. Roads, schools, healthcare, right to bear arms, privacy, assembly. Instead you debate over why some dude paints his home

  32. Beth Greenbaum says

    Spoken as someone who’s never gone up against an HOA in his/her life. Belive you me, an HOA can ABSOLUTELY tell you what color(s) to paint your house, how short your grass should be, and if you can or cannot fly an American flag in your front yard. Anyone who thinks otherwise should watch the news more carefully; it’s full of this sort of bullspit tyrranical idiocy that is calculated to make it difficult and uncomfortable to display one’s patriotism. Won’t stop me, though.

  33. says

    I took your advice and I watched the news last night. Though there wasn’t anything about an HOA telling someone what color they could paint their house, even though I never said an HOA cannot do this, I did learn a lot of other stuff. For instance, it turns out Kim Kardashian and her husband Kris Humphries of the Brooklyn Nets are having a baby girl!

  34. George says

    I agree — many HOA rules can be draconian. I’m so glad I’m not on the Board of Directors of my condo association any more. If the Board did one thing, half the people would complain. If we did the opposite, the other half would complain. If I learned anything from wasting my time volunteering for a bunch of ungrateful homeowners it was that no good deed goes unpunished. Are some of the rules in some HOAs excessive? Yes! Are some people on HOA Boards on a power trip? Yes! Are there assholes that complain constantly but never run for office? Yes!

  35. LB says

    Thanks for posting about this. I just saw the picture of the house and thought “Cool Paint Job” but the caption sounded completely incorrect to me for the same reasons you stated above. I always check for more factual information on everything because I want a more accurate picture of what I’m being fed. I had to laugh while reading the delusional comments of some of the people here. They were making up arguments based upon what “they imagined or thought” you said and not on what you actually said. You have my full sympathy on dealing with that. Kinda shows you where and how this crap gets all twisted around and misreported, doesn’t it?

  36. David says

    Quite honestly…. we believe it because we’ve seen our Federal, State and local governments do stuff even more stupid than this. So why not an HOA? Which makes it easy to believe. (especially since most of us, apparently, are not as knowledgeable as you are about HOA’s)

  37. sandra says

    Obviously people do not know what a dictatorship HOA’s and to boot You have to pay for them to tell you what and what you cannot do. Never for me.

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