Homeowners vs Homeowners Association Christmas Battle
The Morris family from Coeur d’Alene found themselves in a battle for their rights to celebrate a religious holiday this Christmas with a win of $75,000. The homeowners successfully sued their homeowners association which the couple complained was violating their religious rights as declared by the constitution. The family received a letter from the homeowners association declaring their usual pageantry not to be a nuisance but rather declared that the pageant would raise issues with some of the non-Christian residents or residents of another faith.
The Morrises Christmas pageant extravaganza lasts five days, includes tens of thousands of lights, over twenty singers, a live camel and a real live nativity scene. The Morrises intent on moving into the area received the letter from the homeowners association that informed them that the residents would not be allowed to perform their annual Christmas pageant but instead of citing that it was a nuisance, which many HOA’s have clauses restricting noise or light pollution, they cited that this might be a problem for people of other faiths and for that reason were asked not to do it.
The Morris family won the suit because this does indeed violate a constitutional right to practice your religion. However if the homeowners association had simply said that it violates a noise or light pollution clause in the residential agreement, then the outcome could have been so much more different. Please make sure that you reach out to a real estate attorney, such as Jason Borg, if you have questions about the HOA rules or if you believe that specific limitations are violating your rights.
Source: Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq.