Avoid Seeming Like the Grinch This Holiday Season: Enforcing Condo Holiday Decoration Policies

Okay, now that all the holiday décor is unpacked and in full force, it may be time to remind condo dwellers to take a step back and make sure that their decorations are compliant with any holiday décor policies their condo or coop may have.

There could be restrictions regarding what kind of decorations are allowed or not allowed to be displayed, and where they can place them. Some of these rules are designed to keep common areas neat, but others may address safety concerns such as electrical items (think lights!) that can potentially cause fires.

However, when enforcing any holiday decoration guidelines, it may feel as though everyone thinks of you as the Grinch. That is why it is important to communicate the guidelines in a friendly and understanding way while giving residents explanations to certain restrictions that may seem unfair.

Here are a few suggestions when enforcing any holiday rules to help avoid looking like the Grinch:
1. Be Reasonable and Consistent
Do not prohibit residents from decorating the exteriors of their units for the holidays (unless your governing documents require it). The rules should be communicated to all tenants so everyone is on the same page as to what they can and cannot display. If for any reason your condo or coop does ban holiday décor, it is important to be consistent and ban all decorations and displays.
2. Set Rational Restrictions
Regulating the time that decorations may be displayed and when they should be removed, as well as the time of day that the lights may be luminated, is perfectly reasonable. These restrictions will help avoid annoyances to neighbors and may potentially avoid safety issues.
3. Be Careful of Decorations in Common Areas
Condo’s and coops that choose to decorate common areas, such as entryways or lobbies, should take extra care to give equal treatment to all religious and cultural affiliations or keep such decorations general by only hanging lights and wreaths.
Overall, it’s best (and important) to keep your holiday decorating guidelines reasonable and even-handed. It is also important to keep an open mind and encourage residents to add an item on the agenda for the next board meeting and have it discussed. Allowing residents to give their opinions may lead you to take a second look at certain restrictions or maybe ease up on them a little bit.
“No matter how different a Who may appear, he will always be welcomed with holiday cheer.”

– The Grinch
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