Flags at Apartments

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by JLynn82, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. JLynn82

    JLynn82 Guest

    Good Afternoon,
    I was told by my apartment complex that I have to take down my American flag that is posted outside on our patio. We have made sure that there is a light on it at all times to show the proper respect. Does anyone know if this is right for them to be able to demand this from the residents? I feel like my rights as an American are being violated. I have tried to do some research, but to no avail. Hope you all are having a great day.
  2. it is your right to display your flag and there IS a law in place after sep 11th that every american has the right to display a flag on their property.

    just make sure it is not in a hazardous position ie if outside to make sure it is fastened securely so it cant blow away or blow into electric cables etc

    if on a flagpole make sure the end of the flag pole cant catch anybody in the eye or head. if the light is bothereing the housing compamy that is their right to have u turn that off.
    they cannot stop you displaying the flag if it is being done in a safe and hazard less manner it is your right - pdefend that right and fly your flag proudly!!-
    if u still experiance problems get in touch with your town/city governers/ mayors or even state governers and have them deal with it cos im positive theyll back you all the way.
  3. CultureGeek

    CultureGeek Member

    Are you permitted to fly your flag by day?

    It sounds like it might be a light issue, and if so, you may have to display the flag by day and fold it up at night. If you live in an apartment complex, your light may be shining into a neighbor's bedroom window. Many cities and counties also have ordinances limiting what kind of outdoor lights are permissible at night because of light pollution.

    Alternately, it could be a fire hazard issue, in which case the answer might be to move the flag somewhere else (if it's blocking a fire exit), or use another type of light (if the type of light is not approved for use outdoors, or is not covered by your landlord's insurance).

    Or it could be that it's blowing over a neighbor's patio or something and you have to get a smaller flag or move it to the other side of your patio.

    I don't know what law american_flag_uk is talking about (and I pay a lot of attention to that sort of thing) so I can't speak to how it would apply to a rented property. However, displaying a flag on a property you are renting should, under existing laws, be perfectly allowable--- with some limitations.

    You do have a first amendment right to fly the flag but your landlord has a right to impose some regulations on the use of his/her property-- although I am no lawyer and don't know what happens if the restrictions are unreasonable. I think they have to be relatively reasonable but I do not know. If it's a condo, well, homeowners' associations seem to be winning an awful lot of conditional deed cases but once again, I really don't know for sure.

    I think that, unless it is causing a problem (something like the examples mentioned above or something I haven't thought of), the flag display itself should constitute quiet enjoyment and be permissible. However, and I cannot stress this enough, look at the terms of your lease (or condo agreement).

    My guess is that you can display your flag but you may have to display your flag in a slightly different fashion in order to comply with the apartment complex's rules.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  4. H.R.42

    One Hundred Ninth Congress

    of the

    United States of America

    BegunReceived; read twice and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
    the third day of January, two thousand and six
    An Act
    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,
    • This Act may be cited as the `Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005'.
    • 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 association' 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 such association;
          (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 association; and
          (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 association.
    • A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential 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.
    • Nothing in this Act shall be considered to permit any display or use that is inconsistent with--
      • (1) any provision of chapter 1 of title 4, United States Code, or any rule or custom pertaining to the proper display or use of the flag of the United States (as established pursuant to such chapter or any otherwise applicable provision of law); or
        (2) any reasonable restriction pertaining to the time, place, or manner of displaying the flag of the United States necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association.
  5. JLynn82

    JLynn82 Guest

    Thank you both for the information. We spoke to the leasing office and their reasoning is to keep the outside of the units "uniform". In over 400 units only 3 American flags were flying and now those have been taken down. We are going to try to contact City Hall to see if we can do anything.

    It's just so sad because the main flag at the entrance is not treated with the proper respect. They flew it at night without a light on it for about a year, it was really ragged and torn on the edges for a while before they did anything, and now the latest is it is hanging from one loop because it was really windy one night... we called to let them know and they said they would take care of it but it still isn't fixed.
    Thanks again for the information
  6. they arent allowed to stop you from displaying the flag. take it higher
  7. CultureGeek

    CultureGeek Member

    Thanks, American_Flag_UK. Yep, that would apply to a condo as well.
    Based on the info American_Flag_UK has provided, you are probably in the right. What it looks like is you can't display it in front of a fire exit or anything but they can't stop you from displaying it (i.e. they can make you move it if they have a good reason and don't prevent you from putting it up at all) I'm no lawyer but that's what it looks like to me.

    Thoughts in no particular order:

    Looks like a pretty straightforward case of how far you're willing to take it. Unfortunately, property management companies get away with breaking the law in a lot of different ways because they evict tenants who report them for doing so, and because they have more lawyers.

    However, there are legal aid resources in most or all states, and there are probably a lot of well-funded organizations that could be persuaded to take an interest. In this landlord-tenant battle, you can marshall a lot of allies. All kinds of nonprofits from ACORN to the DAR are potential allies, so that could be very helpful. It's such an apple pie issue that you have the potential to get a lot of public sympathy.

    Hmm.. I wonder if the media could be of help here. Most local news stations have a consumer issues reporter of some sort and would probably eat this up. Both liberal groups and conservative groups would be likely to take your side here, so you have a lot of options.

    It might help to talk privately to the other people who've been forced to take their flags down, and maybe to some other tenants as well(but see next paragraph); if you work together, you might have a stronger position.

    Also, try to play your hand as close as possible. I'm no good at that (I am really hopelessly bad at any kind of deception; no future in politics here) so others can give you better advice than I can on that front.

    If you're going to fight this, you also have to be absolutely perfect on all other parts of your lease or condo association agreement, and keep records of your being absolutely perfect on them, so you don't give them any excuse to evict you and say it was for a legitimate reason. Now, how much that would help depends on your state's landlord-tenant laws. Some states, they don't need a reason so look into that.

    So those are some options. In the mean time, bide your time and keep records. Make a flag issue file. Save copies of everything you send them and save everything they send you.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Robspace1

    Robspace1 New Member

    I need to know the law on this as well. My apartment complex in Washington state just started this rule and we are all very mad. What is the law and if you know or know someone to call please post here or email me at Robspace1@msn.com-thanks
  9. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, Rob -- welcome!

    The "Freedom to Display the American Flag Act" was passed back in 2006 -- the text of the act is quoted in american_flag_uk's post earlier post in this thread. As you can see, the act deals with residents of condominiums, members of property associations, and the like. I'm not sure about how it might apply to an apartment renter like yourself -- that's a question for a lawyer.

    It's also important to note that the Act still permits "any reasonable restriction pertaining to the time, place, or manner of displaying the flag of the United States necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association." The exact definition of "reasonable restriction" is another one for the lawyers and the courts.

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
  10. Hoss

    Hoss New Member

    Howdy ... thanks for all the helpful info!

    I'm curious if there are any updates to the thread?

    I live in a condo (I recently purchased as the complex is in the process of selling it's rental units.) but there is still an on-site management (or as I refer to them "Marquette mis-Management") co. and yesterday I received a letter stating I have to remove my US flag by 9/30 or face a $50 fine. Funny thing is I have seen others display a US flag on flag holidays and someone has a Chicago Bears flag hanging from their balcony railing for over a month now.

    My younger brother has recently gone back to Iraq and I wanted to display the US flag 24 hrs/day till his safe return. I live on the ground floor and my unit faces the courtyard. The flood lighting on the exterior rear illuminates it perfectly. There is nothing in the rules which point specifically to a flag. The manager has highlighted the rule that "patio/balconies can not be decorated except for Haloween and Christmas. (she hand wrote including US flag.)

    Sure seems to be fishy. I have emailed her the above HR 42 info. thanks.

    I'm thankful for such a site, the helpful users and their knowledge ... as well as a place to rant! :D

  11. PRGringo

    PRGringo Member

    I don't know about these rules but I wonder if they can prohibit you from displaying the flag in a window where it is hung inside your premises.
  12. Hoss

    Hoss New Member

    we'll find out soon enough as I have the cubs W (win) flag in my bedroom window. (on days that they've won)
  13. uncleflag

    uncleflag New Member

    It’s a shame to me that someone (apartment management or anyone) would complain and make a fuss about you showing your patriotism and choose to fly the American flag. I’m sure there are other, much more offensive displays on other people’s apartments.There are other things these poeple need to worry about.. not the Flag. I’m sorry you are having a conflict. I agree with american_flag_uk, it IS your right and privilege. Go get em!! Let us know what happens.
  14. Hoss

    Hoss New Member

    I called for a third time today and was told I am able to fly the US or military flag.
  15. uncleflag

    uncleflag New Member

    AWESOME, another victory for the Flag code!!:D
  16. wooohooo! thats awesome
  17. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    AWESOME, another victory for the Flag code!!

    Actually, that particular law is not part of the flag code per se. That's a a good thing in this case, because the flag code is purely voluntary, while the law has some teeth -- property management and homeowners' associations can be sued if they violate it.

    I've seen both sides of homeowners' associations (my wife was on the board of ours for many years). They have a legitimate interest in setting some limits on what members can do on their properties, but there is a definite tendency to go overboard. The 2006 flag display law is a good compromise; it makes clear that citizens have a right to fly the flag, but gives the associations the power to restrict displays that are dangerous or inappropriate for some other legitimate reason.

    Peter Ansoff
  18. flagexport

    flagexport New Member

    Think that it is your right also.
  19. jnlb

    jnlb New Member

    what about commercial buildings? can a property manager take down the National Ensign w/out forewarning us? is there a similar code that references commercial as does the residential code?

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