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Local Family Being Fined For Having Christmas Lights Up Early

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - One local family is being fined by their home owners association for having their Christmas lights up!

The Westchase Community Association states between November 7 and Thanksgiving Day, families are not allowed to have holiday decor on their homes.

The Moffa family said their Christmas lights went up on November 6… and then two days later, they received a letter from their homeowners association saying if they don't take the lights down, they will be charged $100 per day until Thanksgiving!

Michael Moffa says "To be a Grinch in this kind of environment right now is unsatisfactory."

Tampa Resident, Michael Moffa, has three kids and a full time job, and says this year he decided to hire someone to hang Christmas lights.

"Two years we looked into doing this, the guy was booked up solid. So we booked November 6 of this year," said Moffa.

On November 6, 2021, those lights were up.

"It's done professionally, it looks very nice. It's not a Griswold Family Vacation house where it lights up the entire planet," said Moffa.

Just as the Moffa family was starting to enjoy their lights, they received a letter.

"That paper says it's $100 a day, with a maximum of $1,000 in a 30 day period," said Moffa.

The letter says holiday décor cannot be displayed from November 8 through Thanksgiving Day, but Moffa says the lights are worth the fines.

"To come out and just see the smiles on their faces, is priceless," said Moffa.

He believes the Westchase Community Association needs to relax its policies. Moffa says the rule seems aimed towards people who celebrate Christmas, but there's other religions that need to be considered.

"As well as excluding other religious holidays. We celebrate Hanukkah as well, Diwali, I have Indian clients that celebrate that culture as well," said Moffa.

Attorney for the Westchase Community Association, Jonathan Ellis, sent a statement saying "There has been no decision on whether a fine will be levied against the Moffas for failure to comply with association's rule regarding holiday decorations."

In the meantime, Moffa says he won't take down his lights anytime soon.

"In a time where we are just at the tail end of a pandemic, the kids schools, wearing masks, not wearing masks, virtual, not virtual. In a time to be Christmas and the holidays right now brings joy to everyone," said Moffa.

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