Flag Displays in South Carolina Homeowners Associations and Condominiums

David Wilson

David Wilson

At this time of year we often get questions from homeowners, managers, condominium and homeowners association boards about what flags may be displayed and under what circumstances. In South Carolina, both federal law and state law come into play.

South Carolina law provides that homeowners associations and condominiums in South Carolina must permit the display of one portable, removable United States flag in a respectful manner, consistent with federal law, on the premises of the property of which he is entitled to use.

Federal Law provides that homeowners associations and condominiums “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.” This language appears to be pretty broad, but federal law also requires that any display of the flag be done in a respectful manner and allows reasonable restrictions pertaining to the time, place, and manner of displaying the flag of the United States to protect association interests.

Some general points about the official flag of the United States and flag display etiquette:

  1. The flag of the United States is defined by federal law as “thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white” and shall include the “union of the flag” (the blue field with white stars—one for each state).
  2. The flag of the United States should only be displayed during daylight hours or may be displayed 24 hours if properly illuminated
  3. The flag of the United States should not be displayed in inclement weather, unless it is an all-weather flag.
  4. When displayed with other flags the flag of the United States should have the place of preeminence.
  5. The flag of the United States should not be draped over the hood, top, sides or back of a vehicle, etc.

 

Please also note that while federal law and South Carolina state law each carve out a place for display of the flag of the United States, your particular homeowners association or condominium may have valid rules that will limit or prohibit the display of all other flags and may limit the time, place, or manner of display of the flag of the United States under certain circumstances. We are glad to review your association’s documents to determine what rules may apply to the display of flags in your community.