Florida homeowner facing HOA fines for putting Christmas lights up too early

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WESTCHASE, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida homeowner is calling his homeowners association grinches after receiving a warning for decorating his home too early.

The Moffa family hired a company to put up Christmas lights outside their home on Nov. 6.

“That was their only availability, and I can’t climb up on the roof myself,” said Michael Moffa, who does not plan to take down the lights. Now he is facing fines for violating his HOA agreement.

Moffa said he had no idea it was against the rules until the family received a letter saying they were in violation of HOA rules stating decorations can’t be put up until Thanksgiving.

If the family does not correct the violation, they could be fined $100 a day, up to $1,000, according to the letter.

“Right before Christmas, who could be a grinch to hand this out?” Moffa said about the letter. “The holidays and the pandemic, I think the kids are wanting something that’s more bright to look at.”

Nexstar’s WFLA went to the Westchase Community Association, which referred us to their attorney.

Attorney Jonathan Ellis said it was a neighbor who complained about the lights. “One of the things [the HOA is] preventing is from the person that has the holiday lights up all year-round or things along those lines,” said Ellis.

Ellis said the board is open to discussing changes to the rule.

“If there’s enough of the community that wants to change, I believe generally the Community Association of Westchase will listen to the residents and will make changes,” Ellis said.

The Moffa family said they offered to keep the lights off until Thanksgiving, but the association has not been receptive to their offer.

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