Tampa Bay homeowner facing HOA fines for putting Christmas lights up too early

Article Courtesy of  News Channel 8 On Your Side

By Melissa Marino
Published November 22, 2021



WESTCHASE — One Tampa Bay area homeowner is calling his homeowners association grinches after receiving a letter for decorating his home too early.

On Nov. 6, the Moffa family hired a company to put up Christmas lights outside their home.

“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.

The Westchase homeowner is now facing fines for violating his HOA agreement.

“The holidays and the pandemic, I think the kids are wanting something that’s more bright to look at,” said Moffa.

Moffa told 8 On Your Side he had no idea it was against the rules, but days later, the family received a letter that they are in violation of HOA rules that decorations can’t be put up until Thanksgiving day.

If the family does not correct the violation they could be fined 100 dollars a day, up to $1,000, according to the letter.
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“Right before Christmas, who could be a grinch to hand this out?” Moffa said about the letter.

So is it holiday humbug, or just asking people to play by the rules?

Eight On Your Side went to the Westchase Community Association, which referred us to their attorney.

Attorney Jonathan Ellis said a neighbor complained about the lights,

“Which led to community manager to investigate it,” said Ellis. “One of the things they’re preventing is from the person that has the holiday lights up all year-round or things along those lines.”

Ellis points out the rules are in place to be followed, but said the board is open to discussing change.

“If there’s enough 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 the association has not been receptive even after they offered to keep the lights off until Thanksgiving.