Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Vet Could Lose Home For Displaying Small US Flag In Front Yard Because It Violates Home Display Rules

A veteran could lose his home because of a small American flag he has placed in a flower pot in front of his home.

Larry Murphree explained that his homeowners’ association in the Sweetwater community wants him to remove the flag because it violates home display rules. Furthermore, he is facing $8,000 in fines if he doesn’t take it out of his flower pot.

“I want it to go away. It’s such a minor little thing and they keep coming after me,” Murphree told WAWS. “They just sent me a letter that says I owe them around $8,000 and they put a foreclosure lien on my house.”

Murphree has 30 days to pay the fines and remove the flag or the homeowners’ association will move forward with the foreclosure.

The veteran had a similar fight with the homeowners’ association last year and he filed a lawsuit which was settled out of court. Now the homeowners’ association flag display rules have been rewritten since then.

Florida statute 720.304 section 2a states that “Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States flag…in a respectful manner…not larger than 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet…regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the [homeowners'] association.”

Murphree said he won’t stop until he can fly his flag freely at his home.


Looks like the law is on his side


Anonymous said...

These HOA's need to be taken down. They usually have little Hitlers running these things.

stinky said...

Yup, the allure of power to those who would normally never be trusted with it - usually for good reason - consistently attracts such people to HOAs. This is clearly a case of persecution.

P.S. ... a picture of the flag.

Bird of Paradise said...

These stupid rules need to be declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL their a total violation of a persons right for Freedom of Expression these HOA stuffed shirts all need to be canned and deported

Anonymous said...

These stupid rules need to be declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL their a total violation of a persons right for Freedom of Expression....

Wait... what?

The Constitution deals with what the government does - not what occurs between private citizens. To try and say this is unConstitutional is a gross mis-characterization of the law and the Constitution.

There is more to this story than meets the eye.

After a previous lawsuit was dismissed on the grounds of being in the wrong forum (federal court as opposed to state court,) Murphree agreed to the new rules the HOA established.

Those rules allow for a flag to be displayed in a holder on certain areas of the home such as the garage. A separate rule was that only plants could be in planters.

So after agreeing to the rules, Murphree now says that he is not going to follow them.

While he may have the ability to change his mind, he may not have the ability to change his mind as a condition of the settlement of a previous lawsuit.

Secondly, the HOA asserts that the porch and overhang area is not part of the home, but part of the common area.

While that seems strange, if the man signed a contract saying that the area is a common area in exchange for not having to pay the taxes and performing the maintenance on that area, he may not have a case.

I am sympathetic to the what Murphree is saying, but at the same time if he entered into a contract on the property and then another agreement on the rules as part of a settlement offer, I am a whole lot less sympathetic to him.

I agree that many HOAs are overbearing and worse. The problem is that if you don't like the rules, don't sign the contract to live there. Don't sign a contract that demands that the HOA follow a contract and then not follow the same conditions of the same contract because you don't like them.

Don't sign something and then whine about what you signed.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:14 _ I think you have the story a bit wrong and that makes all the difference in the world.

It was [b]after[/b] the man agreed to abide by the "rules" when the HOA went and changed the rules to exclude his display.

Boy am I ever glad I live where there is a really reasonable HOA that allows a large amount of personalization so the whole complex doesn't look like a cookie cutter production. The tinpot tyrants where he lives seem to be outraged by a small flag in a flowerpot!

Looking at the picture that seems to be the only tiny slice of color in the place. The HOA seems to be hell-bent on insisting that everything be boring and bland.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:06,

I noted that the rules were rewritten after the suit was dismissed but as part of the settlement, he agreed to the new rules the HOA would write.

Even so, the HOA has in the covenant that they can change the rules. If you don't like the rules of an HOA, don't sign to live there, change the rules, or replace those who make the rules.

Anonymous said...

You often have no idea of how bad the HOA may be before you move in. In fact the HOA could have been a nice one and changed or it could be this guy is so abrasive himself that he changed them to hate him.

One thing is sure, we'll never get the whole story from the media because the better they slant the news the better it sells.

Go Away Bird said...

I wonder how the Housing nazis would react to a communists flag?