Florida family faces fine for early Christmas lights display as Mariah Carey tweets support

‘Everything looks so nice and for them to be a Grinch like this, it’s just unheard of,’ says homeowner Michael Moffa

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 22 November 2021 14:54
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Related video: World’s biggest lights switch-on launches London’s Christmas

A Florida family has fallen foul of their “grinch” homeowners’ association rules by putting up their Christmas lights too early.

The Moffa family hired a company to decorate the yard of their Tampa home on 6 November, NBC affiliate WFLA reported.

Days later, they received a letter notifying them that they now face a fine for violating their HOA agreement.

If they don’t remove the lights, they could face fines of $100 a day, up to $1,000, the letter stated. Michael Moffa said that he has no plans to remove the lights.

“That was their only availability, and I can’t climb up on the roof myself,” he told the TV station, adding he didn’t know it was against the rules to put up Christmas lights before Thanksgiving.

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

“I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It’s Christmas lights,” he told The Washington Post. “I’m not taking them down, even if the guidelines said I put them up too early. Everything looks so nice and for them to be a Grinch like this, it’s just unheard of.”

An attorney for the Westchase Community Association said a neighbor complained about the display.

“Which led to community manager to investigate it,” Jonathan Ellis told WFLA.

“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.”

“The association has not levied a fine and there has been no decision on whether a fine will be levied regarding the failure of Mr Moffa to comply with the association’s rule regarding holiday decorations,” he said.

Mr Ellis said the rules are in place to be followed, but said the board is open to discussing changes.

Mr Moffa says that the association hasn’t been receptive even after they offered to keep the lights off until Thanksgiving.

While the annual debate over how early is too early for Christmas decorations continues, Mr Moffa received some support from singer Mariah Carey whose wider music career has been close to overshadowed by the runaway success of her 1994 holiday hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.

The star tweeted: “My personal preference is to wait until after Thanksgiving but there’s no regulating festiveness!!!”

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