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Veteran May Lose Home Because He Displayed an American Flag

Posted by on Jun. 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM
  • 10 Replies
1 mom liked this

Veteran May Lose Home Because He Displayed an American Flag

by Jenny Erikson

American FlagsWhat the heck is going on here? A veteran has been charged thousands by his HOA ... for placing a small American flag in a flower pot on his front porch. And yes, this is happening in America. The Sweetwater Florida resident has been involved in a battle over his right to display the flag for two years, and it looks as though he may end up losing his home as a result of it.

Veteran Larry Murphee says he just wants the whole thing to go away. "It's such a minor little thing," he explained. "They keep coming after me." The offending flag is about the size of a sheet of notebook paper, just in case you were wondering.

This hardly seems like it could be possible, yet Murphee claims the homeowners association has issued him a rather substantial fine for refusing to remove his patriotic decoration. "They just sent me a letter that says I owe them around $8,000 and they put a foreclosure lien on my house," he said.

Eight. Thousand. Dollars. For a flag. The lien is why he may be losing his home soon -- according to the HOA's attorney Michelle Haines, if he doesn't pay the fine within 30 days, they can move forward on a foreclosure.

Somebody hates America.

Now I get that when you choose to move into a community with regulations, you need to abide by the rules. But I'm pretty sure that Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions don't trump either state or federal law. I know Ms. Haines is a fancy lawyer and all, but maybe she should take a look at the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which is summarized as follows:

"[A] condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use."

Now maybe a case could be made that the front porch is owned by the association and not Murphee himself, but seriously? Let the man have his flag, and maybe instead of putting a lien on his property, shake his hand and say thank you for serving to protect your right to be offended by the American flag.

Do you think people should be allowed to display an American flag on their property?

Does the HOA trump federal law?

by on Jun. 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mom2jessnky
by Dedi on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Always read the rules of the HOA before buying a house in an HOA. If he didn't agree with this rule, he should have bought a house elsewhere.

If what they're doing is really against federal law, they'll have to drop it, but he DID agree to their crazy ass rules when he bought the house so he is at fault here. Rules apply to everyone not just non veterans.

Cafe MichelleP
by Head Admin on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:08 AM

The very first thing I did before I even made an offer on my home in Texas was to request a copy of the HOA bylaws for just this reason.

We are in the market for a new home here in Kansas and already have a couple copies of bylaws for the neighborhoods we are interested in here too.


Quoting mom2jessnky:

Always read the rules of the HOA before buying a house in an HOA. If he didn't agree with this rule, he should have bought a house elsewhere.

If what they're doing is really against federal law, they'll have to drop it, but he DID agree to their crazy ass rules when he bought the house so he is at fault here. Rules apply to everyone not just non veterans.


mom2jessnky
by Dedi on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:16 AM

That's exactly what I plan to do when I buy a house one day. I want to know what it costs, and what it covers, and what is and isn't okay.

Like I wouldn't want to live under an HOA that forces me to have a flower bed, I can't garden for crap I'm not going to be forced to do it, because I'd get fined daily for that. I lived in military housing that forced me to maintain their flowerbeds (which is BULLSHIT) and I did a piss poor job, got bitched at constantly...that is until I threw the biggest fit in history over it. I'm not a landscaper, don't put shit in my yard if you expect me to take care of it, especially not in a rental. Thankfully the housing company where I am now isn't run by a bunch of asshats so I'm not responsible for anything when it comes to my house. The flowerbed thing is just one a MANY dumbass rules that AMCC TriCommand has.  Been there, done that, not doing it again.

If it's my house, it's mine, and if I want to put flamingoes in my yard and paint the garage turquoise I should be allowed to.

Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

The very first thing I did before I even made an offer on my home in Texas was to request a copy of the HOA bylaws for just this reason.

We are in the market for a new home here in Kansas and already have a couple copies of bylaws for the neighborhoods we are interested in here too.


Quoting mom2jessnky:

Always read the rules of the HOA before buying a house in an HOA. If he didn't agree with this rule, he should have bought a house elsewhere.

If what they're doing is really against federal law, they'll have to drop it, but he DID agree to their crazy ass rules when he bought the house so he is at fault here. Rules apply to everyone not just non veterans.



Cafe MichelleP
by Head Admin on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:21 AM

This makes me smile. My dad feels the exact same way. Not that he has flamingos but he does have gnomes, boy does he have garden gnomes...haha

The HOA for our home in Texas is actually really good and I agree with all of the rules as it really does protect the value of our home. However, I have already disqualified a few neighborhoods here in Kansas for both rules too lax and too rigid.

Quoting mom2jessnky:

That's exactly what I plan to do when I buy a house one day. I want to know what it costs, and what it covers, and what is and isn't okay.

Like I wouldn't want to live under an HOA that forces me to have a flower bed, I can't garden for crap I'm not going to be forced to do it, because I'd get fined daily for that. I lived in military housing that forced me to maintain their flowerbeds (which is BULLSHIT) and I did a piss poor job, got bitched at constantly...that is until I threw the biggest fit in history over it. I'm not a landscaper, don't put shit in my yard if you expect me to take care of it, especially not in a rental. Thankfully the housing company where I am now isn't run by a bunch of asshats so I'm not responsible for anything when it comes to my house. The flowerbed thing is just one a MANY dumbass rules that AMCC TriCommand has.  Been there, done that, not doing it again.

If it's my house, it's mine, and if I want to put flamingoes in my yard and paint the garage turquoise I should be allowed to.

Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

The very first thing I did before I even made an offer on my home in Texas was to request a copy of the HOA bylaws for just this reason.

We are in the market for a new home here in Kansas and already have a couple copies of bylaws for the neighborhoods we are interested in here too.


Quoting mom2jessnky:

Always read the rules of the HOA before buying a house in an HOA. If he didn't agree with this rule, he should have bought a house elsewhere.

If what they're doing is really against federal law, they'll have to drop it, but he DID agree to their crazy ass rules when he bought the house so he is at fault here. Rules apply to everyone not just non veterans.



mom2jessnky
by Dedi on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I'm not saying I WOULD paint my garage that color or litter my yard with pink birds, but I should be ALLOWED to. It's my house. If I want to paint my car pink absolutely nothing stops me because it's mine.

Quoting Cafe MichelleP:

This makes me smile. My dad feels the exact same way. Not that he has flamingos but he does have gnomes, boy does he have garden gnomes...haha

The HOA for our home in Texas is actually really good and I agree with all of the rules as it really does protect the value of our home. However, I have already disqualified a few neighborhoods here in Kansas for both rules too lax and too rigid.

violinjewel
by Julia on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM
That's the one good thing we thought about our neighborhood, no HOA. The city of Denver recently became a covenant community though, and some of the city laws and rules are just as strict as a HOA. I think $8,000 is excessive for a fine. Was this something that built up over time? I mean you would think there would be some sort of warning first, and then fine. Parts of this story seem missing, so it's hard to say one way or another as to the fairness of it all.
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darbyakeep45
by Darby on Jun. 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM
Yeah, no HOA where I live. We didn't want to live in a place that had one....personal preference. We live in a very old and established neighborhood with huge houses from the 50s. These people have been in these homes for 30+ years. It's wonderful.

.oOMellyOo.
by Silver Member on Jun. 25, 2014 at 8:39 PM
1 mom liked this

Well he should have read the rules and regulations.... I don't agree with HOA's there for we'll never rent or buy in a neighborhood that has one.

JMmama
by Kara on Jun. 25, 2014 at 11:19 PM
1 mom liked this
I don't think there is nearly enough information in this article to determine if the HOA is wrong or not. His status as a veteran, however, is irrelevant.
gunsgirl
by Silver Member on Jun. 26, 2014 at 10:55 AM
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his status as a vet is irrelavant - his HOA says no flags-he is breaking the Rules of the HOA. whether there is afederal law allowing citizens to fly a flag anywhere they want I don't know, but if there is he needs to be suing the HOA- not keep a flag out to snub the rules.

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