Each year as the weather gets colder, homeowners all over Arizona start planning their holiday decorations. Some are fine with putting up a few strands of lights, while others transform their house into something of an amusement park. Regardless of where you fit on the spectrum, it is important to understand Christmas light laws and the laws that might affect your holiday lighting festivities.

Each city has its own residential outdoor lighting ordinances that you should review. Cities either have an exemption for seasonal holiday lighting, or they simply do not aggressively enforce their lighting ordinances during the holidays. Instead, the city is more likely to take notice if your holiday display is creating an unreasonable amount of noise, or if you are creating traffic problems in your neighborhood by the number of people driving by your home to admire your holiday cheer.

If you live in a homeowners association you will have additional oversight and restrictions. HOA rules regarding holiday lighting are typically more stringent than city ordinances. The HOA is more likely to aggressively enforce the restrictions than the city. Here are three tips for you to consider if you have extensive plans to decorate your home for the holidays:

1. Read your CC&Rs and Rules and Regulations in your HOA community. These two documents will often contain provisions about what types of decorations are allowed, when you can put them up and when you must take them down. For example, they might say that roof anchored displays are not allowed. They may also establish a time of day when all holiday music must stop. The HOA has the power to fine you for non-compliance, so it is worth your time to review the community documents.

2. Submit your holiday decorating plans to your HOA for approval. The CC&Rs may require you to get approval in advance but even if they don’t, you will feel more comfortable spending the time and money decorating if you know the HOA has already approved your display.

3. Talk to your immediate neighbors and explain your decorating plans to them. Sometimes they will be as excited as you and you can work together on your decorating plans. But if they have any concerns you can address them before you put up your decorations.

The holidays should be fun. A little advanced planning will help you avoid any contentious issues during this festive time. However, It is always important to check with an attorney first if you have any legal questions about your Christmas decorations, especially if you are planning for crowds to come visit them.


Adam Buck is a partner at Radix Law, who focuses on real estate, business law, commercial litigation and estate planning. Radix Law, formerly The Frutkin Law Firm, was founded in 2008 by attorney Jonathan Frutkin with the goal of providing exceptional legal representation to clients throughout Arizona.  Radix helps businesses, individuals, and families in Phoenix and throughout Arizona with their corporate and business law, bankruptcy, taxation, asset protection, wills, trusts, and estates, and litigation needs.  The firm is located at the Kierland Commons in Scottsdale.  For more information, visit radixlaw.com.