Prior to the passage of Civil Code sections 4705 and 4710, a common interest development could prohibit the hoisting of a flag on a member’s separate interest or exclusive use common area. This prohibition was enforceable so long as it did not endanger public health or safety and so long as it did not violate any local, state or federal law.
In 2012, the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act was amended to include former Civil Code section 1353.5. In 2014, that statute was renumbered and amended to state the following (in part):
“Except as required for the protection of the public health or safety, no governing documents shall limit or prohibit, or be construed to limit or prohibit, the display of the flag of the United States by a member on or in the member’s separate interest or within the member’s exclusive use common area.”
Are there limitations? Yes. The flag must be made of cloth or paper and can only be displayed from a flag pole or in a window. The flag cannot be made of lights, paint, roofing, siding, paving materials, flora balloons or other similar building component.
What about the flags of other nations? Civil Code section 4710 protects against that restriction as well. It states:
“The governing documents may not prohibit posting or displaying of noncommercial signs, posters, flags or banners on or in a member’s separate interest, except as required for the protection of public or safety or if the posting or display would violate a local, state, or federal law.”
This statute contains similar, but not identical, limitations. The flag may be made of paper, cardboard, cloth, plastic or fabric and may be posted from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of the separate interest.
Did You Know … that Veterans Day is November 11th? Go fly that flag!
Allison Andersen is managing partner of the Northern California division of Fenton Grant Mayfield Kaneda & Litt, LLP and is a liaison to CLAC from the California North Chapter of CAI. She represents common interest developments and commercial real estate owners in complex construction defect, shelf condominium and condominium conversion mediation and litigation proceedings.