Is this real life? Condo association threatens fine over resident’s ‘noisy’ American flag ‘flapping’ in the wind

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FARGO, ND – A condo association within Fargo has threatened one of their residents with fines due to an American flag hung outside his condo that has been deemed as “noisy” due to its periodic flapping in the wind.

Anyone who has ever lived in a neighborhood or community with an HOA, or the equivalent of for condos, is well aware that while they can be beneficial, said entities can also be annoyingly petty at times.

Such is the case with Andrew Almer, who has been receiving threats of fines over his American flag hung on his back balcony.

The condominium owner recently spoke out about the matter, noting that flying the American flag outside of his home was something he’s always wanted to do before he attained his property:

“It’s something I’ve always wanted when I owned a home. Having an American flag in the yard is just an American thing – that pride to have.”

Of all the things one could anticipate getting a “warning” for when residing in communities with HOAs, chances are that flying American flags on their balcony wasn’t one of them. But, in Almer’s case, that’s exactly what happened.

Having lived in the condo for roughly five years, Almer decided to stop renting the unit and outright purchased it about two years ago. After having purchased the unit, he decided to hang up his American flag:

“I don’t really take it down. It’s been lit up every night and it’s an all-weather flag, so you follow the guidelines and it’s been up for two years straight, almost.”

Yet, after having flown the flag seemingly without issue for nearly two years, Almer received a warning letter from the condo association in January alleging that someone was complaining that the flag flapping in the wind is causing a noise issue:

“The first letter I got, I laughed, because I just thought, ‘This is ridiculous.’ You cannot tell me somebody is complaining about a flapping flag in the wind.”

Almer has suspicions that the origin of the complaint came from the resident above his unit – which happens to be the condo association president.

While not having disclosed details on the rift between the two, Almer simply noted that the condo association president has a “vendetta” against him.

After having laughed off the first notice he received, a second warning came in roughly one month after the first:

“When I got this second letter I thought, ‘Oh my God, she’s serious.’”

Almer is reportedly getting threats of fines for $200 a day for every day he continues to fly the flag. However, Almer has zero intentions of taking the flag on his balcony down:

“It’s going to stay up. And if I need to, we’ll take it to court, but hopefully it doesn’t have to get that far and there can be some resolution that’s peaceful.”

If the issue ever did wind up in court, it would likely be a rather easy win for Almer since the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 explicitly prohibits condo associations from trying to enforce restrictions of displaying the U.S. flag on someone’s residential property.

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This isn’t the first time we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report regarding HOAs getting nitpicky with threats of fines. 

Back in December of 2020, we shared a report of a homeowner in North Carolina who received warnings over a cross used as a Christmas decoration. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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RALEIGH, NC – A Home Owners Association within the Raleigh area of North Carolina recently presented an ultimatum to a family regarding their Christmas décor displayed on their front lawn. 

That ultimatum was either remove the large cross on the lawn or face a $100 fine for displaying said cross. And the rationale for this Christmas decoration being out of bounds was because the Home Owners Association alleged the cross has nothing to do with Christmas.

Home Owners Associations, commonly referred to as HOAs, have often served as a source of ire for those who find their respective HOA to be a tad overbearing with rules and regulations. 

So when the Faison family recently received a letter from their HOA informing them they needed to remove the six-foot cross off of their front lawn, needless to say that served as a source of agitation. 

The family had opted that among their Christmas décor for their front lawn, they’d prominently display a cross as being representative of the holiday’s Christian roots. 

Now, the HOA in question doesn’t bar holiday decorations – it’s just that the HOA claimed that the cross displayed isn’t a decoration symbolic with Christmas

More specifically, the HOA claimed that the cross is more symbolic of Easter or Passover – and thus, the cross needed to be removed for being an out-of-season decoration. 

Of course, the Faison family contested the violation, and the HOA had asked the family to provide actual biblical scripture that would support showcasing how the cross is directly connected to Christmas. 

The statement from the HOA requesting “biblical references” of the Faison family reads as follows: 

“I did share your response with the Board and several members of the board are devout Christians and are intimately familiar with the cross being the foundation for which Christianity is based.”

“The cross represents the death of Jesus Christ who died for our sins so we can have eternal life. The Christmas season is associated with the birth of the Savior such as nativity scenes would be appropriate representation of the season.”

“The Board believes that the Bible is very clear on the distinction between these two major events in Christ’s life on earth. The cross is appropriate for display during the Easter season, but not as a decoration during the Christmas season.”

“Unless biblical references can be provided noting the cross as a symbol of the Christmas season for the board to reconsider, the cross is not considered to be a Christmas decoration.”

Apparently the Faison family responded to said letter, providing the biblical references so requested.

After a bit of a stalemate between the family and the HOA, a local news crew became involved and started asking question about the matter to the HOA. 

It was at that point that the HOA had conceded – to a degree – on the Christmas decoration debacle. They reportedly said that the Faison family can keep the cross up for the holiday season, but that the matter is still being investigated. 

James Faison, reflecting on the decoration controversy, stated the following about the back and forth between his family and the HOA: 

“We’re HOA paying residents. We love the community – great community – nice neighbors and everything. But at the same time, the HOA, what they’ve done is they’ve crossed the line.”

From what the HOA bylaws read regarding holiday decorations, Christmas decorations of any sort will have to be taken down between two to four weeks after the holiday. 

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