A federal law was passed in 2006 that applies to the display of the American flag. The law prohibits an association from adopting or enforcing any policy or agreement (which would include the Declaration or Rules) 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.” With that said, the law allows for a few limitations:
- The law only applies to the display of the American flag.
- The flag must be displayed consistent with the provisions of the Federal Flag Code, or any rule or custom pertaining to the proper display or use of the American flag.
- An association may place reasonable restrictions as to the time, place or manner of displaying the American flag that are necessary to “protect a substantial interest” of the association.
Therefore, if the association’s governing documents completely prohibit the flying of flags, this law would supercede the association’s governing documents as to the flying of the American flag. However, the association could adopt reasonable restrictions governing the display of the flag that are necessary to protect a substantial interest of the association.
In addition to the federal law on flying the American flag, Arizona has a specific law that requires an association to allow the flying of certain flags on flagpoles on the lot: the American flag, military flags, the POW/MIA flag, the Arizona state flag, an Arizona Indian nations flag, and the Gadsden flag. The association shall adopt rules governing the flying of the flag, which may include limiting the member to flying no more than two flags at once and the limiting the height of the flagpole to no more than the height of the rooftop of the member’s home. However, the association cannot prohibit the installation of a flagpole on a member’s property.
New Mexico adopted a law in 2015 relating to associations and the flying of flags. A new section was added to the Homeowner Association Act that states, “An association shall not adopt or enforce a restriction related to the flying or displaying of flags that are more restrictive than the applicable federal or state law or county or municipal ordinance.”