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Hillsborough County homeowner faces fines for putting Christmas lights up too early

Christmas Lights
Posted at 9:05 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 23:26:19-05

WESTCHASE, FLA. — A Hillsborough County homeowner could be fined by his HOA for putting up Christmas lights too early.

Michael Moffa said he hired a company to put up Christmas lights. He decorated his home on November 6.

"There's a guy in the neighborhood that puts up lights professionally and he was booked solid for the last 2 years. This year, he actually had an opening. It was for November 6th and so we went ahead and did that," said Moffa.

Moffa said he put up the lights for his children to enjoy them.

"Just some minor lighting to put a smile on the kid's faces. They say it's too early, but what's too early?" said Moffa.

Moffa said he received a letter from his homeowners association stating he was violating the rules.

According to the letter, "Seasonal holiday decor may be displayed from 10/1-11/7 and Thanksgiving day to 01/15 each calendar year. Other holiday decors may be permitted 7 days before and removed 7 days after the specific holiday."

The letter stated holiday decorations outside of the permitted time frame is a violation of the rules.

"We like to decorate early inside and outside. It's just the best time of the year," said Moffa.

"In my eyes, they're just being a Grinch," he added.

Jonathan Ellis, the attorney for the Westchase Community Association, said a neighbor called the association to complain about Moffa violating the rules.

"It's up to him to comply with the governing documents or the alternative and if he's not going to or he thinks there's some mistake to go ahead and let the association know what his response is and then the association can consider the response," said Ellis.

According to the letter, failure to correct the violation may lead to a fine of $100 per day not to exceed $1,000 in 30 days.

"There's been no determination whether he will be fined or not. I think the association having sent the violation letter wants to see what the response is and the board of directors will review the response," added Ellis.

Moffa said he has no plans to remove the lights.

"Everybody is doing Christmas early because it's the best time of the year," said Moffa.