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HOA Fines Man For Hanging Christmas Decorations

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A man from Alabama says his community's homeowners association has issued him a fine for putting up Christmas decorations on his condo.

Huntsville homeowner Steven Williams said the lights hanging from his entryway are costing him $50 each day in fines from the HOA, WHNT reports.

"The 'bylaws,' say you get fined a $50 fine and if you wait 30 days later, you can get a late fee and that's it. The fine as it reads that she gave me is $50 and each day is an individual account," said Williams. Williams said the decorations have cost him $200 in fines so far.

Williams said he believes that Stepping Stone Condominium HOA's president and CEO, Ethel Lee, may have a vendetta against him after he tried to run for HOA president. Williams said he believes this is the reason that he is being fined for the decorations.

"She can pry that money out of my cold, dead hands," said Williams.

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Williams said he decorates each year, and hasn't been fined by the HOA before.

"This is mild," said the homeowner. "Usually there are a lot more lights in the window and more wreaths."

The HOA's bylaws state that an owner "shall not cause of permit anything to be hung or displayed on the outside of the windows, walls, or doors," but Williams said his decorations don't violate this, since the rule applies to the common areas outside the house.

"Everybody has a right to Christmas and seasonal decorations," said Williams. "My decorations are not a part of the common area, this is my entry."

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Williams said he does not plan to take down his decorations, and will fight the fines. He also said he planned to sue Lee, citing "harassment."

In April, a Las Vegas family struggled with their HOA over a wreath that was hung up on their front door, which the HOA said was a Christmas wreath. The HOA threatened to fine the Arroyo Canyon family $100, according to KTNV.

Milan Thakkar said his wife picked out the wreath to decorate their front door, and that it wasn't meant to be a Christmas wreath. The HOA sent a letter to the family, saying that they had violated a rule to take down holiday decorations within 30 days of the holiday.

"It's petty," Thakkar said. "I can take it down in two seconds ... It's the principle of it."

Thakkar, a veteran, said he was annoyed by having to deal with the HOA.

"You come home from combat and you're just happy to be with your family," he said. "And then you got to fight little battles like this. It's a nuisance."

Thakkar said that he had sent the HOA a letter with heated language. The president of Level Property Management said Thakkar had used "foul and vulgar language" in his response to the HOA.

Thakkar's neighbor, Bobby James, said he was also facing a fine from the HOA, which took a picture of weeds next to his home. James said the HOA wanted to fine him $100 for the small weeds. He said he had been unable to clear the weeds because he had pneumonia that week.

"They just sit on their butts and complain," said James.

Sources: WHNT, KTNV / Featured Image: Chapman_Photography/Flickr / Embedded Images: WHNT, Luke Jones/Flickr

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