Littleton man challenges HOA fining him for flags outside his home
Flag Day represents more than the official adoption of the American flag for a Littleton man.
For David Renner, his passion for flags means a battle with his homeowner’s association.
Southbridge Townhomes Association has a problem with the flags he hangs outside his home.
But Renner has a problem with the HOA targeting what he says is part of our collective American history.
“I love flags,” Renner says. “I love flag history.”
It’s why he owns 13 flags and flies them with pride outside his townhome in the 300 block of W. Jamison Circle in Littleton.
That was, until April.
“This is the first flag I got warned on, the Gadsden,” Renner said about the yellow, pre-revolutionary flag reading “Don’t Tread On Me.”
So, he took it down and hung his Colorado flag.
“But in May, I received a $100 fine for flying my Colorado flag,” he said.
Then, on June7, came another $200 fine, for flying his Betsy Ross flag — it has 13 stars and 13 stripes.
He flew it again, knowing the risk.
“I may be fined again,” he said.
He received a violation letter stating his flags do not meet HOA rules.
The only acceptable flag is a current United State flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes.
But Renner said he’s protected by the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005.
“That act uses a loose definition of the term American flag, any number of stars, any number of stripes, any size, any material, any flag that purports to be an American flag,” he said.
But the HOA disagreed, and said historical U.S. flags do not make the cut.
“Do they really think I’m bringing down property values? It’s not like I’m flying an Oakland Raiders flag,” he said.
Renner said he really doesn’t want to fight over his flags.
“I do not want to piss off my neighbors or make them angry. I just want to honor our history,” he said.
But he realized the freedom represented by his flags may not be the freedom he’ll find under an HOA.
“What are we gaining? What are we losing? Are we losing our freedom for a nice manicured lawn? I really hope we are not,” he said.
Renner said he plans to consult an attorney — if the attorney says he’s way off base, he’ll pay the fines and move on.
In the future, if he buys a new place, he’ll stay far away from HOAs.