HOAs around country crack down on signs, flags

Midwest

Thomas DiSario, in front of the thin blue line flag he’s been asked to take down, holds a letter from Omni Community Association Managers. (WCMH)

(NewsNation) — If you live in a community with a homeowners association, you might have strong feelings about it.

So does Thomas DiSario of Ohio. He flies an American flag and a thin blue line flag to honor his late son, Eric.

Five years ago, Disario’s son, then the newly appointed police chief of Kirkersville, was gunned down at a nursing home. DiSario has flown the flag since receiving it as a gift from his son’s law enforcement colleagues.

But last week, his homeowner’s association sent a letter asking Disario to take down the flag after receiving an anonymous complaint about it.

The letter said the flag is a political sign, and must be removed. DiSario, according to NewsNation local affiliate WCMH, says it isn’t.

“I spent 23 years in the military, and there’s no way, shape, or form that flag is being flown disrespectful at all,” he said. “It has a 4×6 American flag above it, and the police flag is a 3×5 below it. It is no bigger than the top flag.”

The Homeowners Association Management company told NewsNation they don’t make the rules — they only enforce them. It’s not about whether they agree with the flag or sign posted, David Dye, the homeowners association president, told WCMH, but how it fits in with the community’s deed restrictions.

“They bought into the community with rules,” Dye said. “He agreed by buying in this community that he can’t display what he wants to display.”

DiSario is not alone in his anger, though. Community crackdowns by homeowners associations like this are happening everywhere.

One couple in Texas was told to take down their pride flag. And a Florida woman was told she’ll be slapped with a $100 fine if she didn’t take down a Christmas flag.

One Charlotte, North Carolina neighborhood rallied around an 11-year-old boy whose homeowners’ association told the family they had to remove his basketball goal.

There are more than 370,000 homeowners’ associations nationwide. According to a national HOA group, they represent 40 million households, which is about 53% of owner-occupied homes in the U.S.

Like others in his position, DiSario is ready to put up a fight.

“No HOA in the world is gonna tell me to take that flag down,” he insisted. “It ain’t happening.”

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