As we head into the last months of the year, it’s a good time to review your property’s rules about decor and decorations in regard to the major holidays that are right on the horizon. While you may be tempted to pull out your decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Kwanza, you may want to check out your community’s bylaws and rules about decorating for this time of year.
For many communities that rely on a uniform look yet want to allow some level of personalization, creating decor rules is truly a balancing act. What constitutes “too many lights?” Who decides what looks tacky and what is respectful and permissible? How long should decorations remain outside?
These are all great questions. Here are a few ideas on how to balance allowing decor for the holidays and maintaining the clean look many communities strive for.
Create a Timeline
Some homeowners love to get their Christmas decorations out immediately after Thanksgiving while others prefer to leave them up until well after the New Year. Create a timeline that guides your tenants on the allowable days or weeks that decorations can be placed.
Not all communities have the same guidelines, but a great guide to follow could be donning exterior decorations no more than 30 days before the holiday and taking down exterior decorations no later than two weeks after the holiday. This gives all homeowners a chance to enjoy the decor without having it outlive its welcome.
As property managers, safety should always be first and foremost. Remind renters and those who live in your community to only use lights that are electrically safe, place decor in a safe location where it will not be a tripping factor, and request help if the decor is placed in difficult areas.
Communities often have specific rules about not attaching decor to structures, roofs, or overhangs that could create a safety hazard. Make sure that your decorations are not contributing to a fire hazard. For instance, do you have too many cords in one outlet or are the cords placed too close to a heating element?
Be Mindful of Neighbors
We want to leave you with one last thought about decor and holiday decorations. Remember that you have community neighbors. Think about them as you choose and place your decorations. Avoid items that are loud, have excessive lights, and politically or religiously offensive signage or decorations. Everyone would like to enjoy the holidays and if your decor is infringing on them, insulting, or too bright, you may want to rethink your display.