Did a Condo Attorney Fail to Advise the Condo President and Board about “The Freedom to Display Flag Act of 2005” and/or the Related Florida Statute?
A Florida condominium association board took co-owners to arbitration in 2017, because they raised the American Flag on their limited common element after Hurricane Irma.
The arbitrator eventually told both attorneys they could legally fly the flag, and if the location was an issue, it should be decided through mediation. If mediation was unsuccessful, it could go back to arbitration or directly to court. Both parties had to agree. The condo owners opted for court, and the association opted for arbitration. Then the board dropped the issue.
The condo owners were not reimbursed for their legal expenses, since the case was dropped.
They told Rights Radio: “Condo boards have an unfair advantage over owners. They can create legal actions against any owner without spending a dime of their own money. And, even worse, if they choose to drop a legal action that they initiated – as they did in our case regarding the American Flag – they put zero dollars of their own money at risk. If a board member has a personal vendetta against a particular unit owner – as our board president has done – then he/she is able to fund such action with unit owner’s money. In our case, precious funds that were intended for hurricane repairs and building maintenance were instead used for a board member’s personal agenda.”
But Here is the Question!
Did the condo president or the condo board attorney bother to read the “The Freedom to Display the Flag Act of 2005” (below) – passed on July 24, 2006 – let alone Florida Statute 718.113(4)? Had they done so, this frivolous legal action could have been avoided. As the arbitrator informed both attorneys that the condo owner could legally fly the flag, we conclude that the condo association attorney either failed to research the issue or intentionally failed to inform his client about such legal rights.
Florida Statute Section 718.113(4) states that a condominium “unit owner may display one portable, removable United States flag in a respectful and, on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, may display in a respectful way portable, removable official flags, not larger than 4-½ feet by 6 feet, that represent the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, regardless of any declaration rules or requirements dealing with flags or decorations.”
Public Law 109–243
To ensure that the right of an individual to display the flag of the United States
on residential property not be abridged.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Freedom to Display the American
Flag Act of 2005’’.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act—
(1) the term ‘‘flag of the United States’’ has the meaning
given the term ‘‘flag, standard, colors, or ensign’’ under section
3 of title 4, United States Code;
(2) the terms ‘‘condominium association’’ and ‘‘cooperative
association’’ have the meanings given such terms under section
604 of Public Law 96–399 (15 U.S.C. 3603);
(3) the term ‘‘residential real estate management associa-
tion’’ has the meaning given such term under section 528 of
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 528); and
(4) the term ‘‘member’’—
(A) as used with respect to a condominium association,
means an owner of a condominium unit (as defined under
section 604 of Public Law 96–399 (15 U.S.C. 3603)) within
(B) as used with respect to a cooperative association,
means a cooperative unit owner (as defined under section
604 of Public Law 96–399 (15 U.S.C. 3603)) within such
(C) as used with respect to a residential real estate
management association, means an owner of a residential
property within a subdivision, development, or similar area
subject to any policy or restriction adopted by such associa-
SEC. 3. RIGHT TO DISPLAY THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES.
A condominium association, cooperative association, or residen-
tial real estate management association may not adopt or enforce
any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or
prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of
the United States 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.
4 USC 5 note.
4 USC 5 note.
4 USC 5 note.
Act of 2005.
July 24, 2006
Condo President’s Abuse of Power
The president of this condominium association is allegedly both a snowbird and a non-US citizen. Should non-citizens and/or snowbirds be permitted to serve as condominium or HOA presidents? While Florida law does not prevent such service, a number of Florida condos and HOAs include such restrictions in their original or updated Documents.