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Is new HOA owner responsible for old trees on property?

Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 @ 06:32 AM

I live in a community that has 82 homes, it was built in 1981. I have been here for 9 years. The HOA consists of homeowners in this community. There are huge Oak and Pine trees around my home with 5-6ft of my house that are planted on Community property. To my knowledge they have never been maintained by the HOA, so they have grown and grown over the years. I received a certified letter stating that I have 30 days to cut back these trees because they now are going over my roof line. Some of these trees were over the roof line when I moved in.

They are stating that they will put a lien on my house by charging me for the tree trimming if I do not cut them back. They site that it is in the bylaws that I maintain my home, which I do other then these community trees. These very same trees have cause me issues because they got into my sewer line, and I had to pay for all of that repair. Does anyone know if they can legally do this? These trees were not my property and neither the HOA or the previous owner ever maintained them. Now they want me to absorb the cost because they have grown over my house. I am talking about 5 trees, so this is not just a matter of clipping a few branches. I thinking this will be well over $1500 or more. Who is responsible for maintaining the community trees? Who can I contact to help me out of this mess? Thank you for any help on this matter.

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Have you reviewed your association's governing docuemnts to see if they identify with is common vs. owner responsibility? You also may want to find a copy of teh surevy for your home. See if the property emcompasses the grounds you refer to. If the grounds are part of your lot, and the documents are silent, this could very well be an owner responsibility to maintain. Suggest you look for these documents and request your association to provide you with chapter and verse of the provisions that require owners to be responsible for this task.

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 6:51 AM by Edward S. Frank

In response to this comment. 
The roots and trees are on common property. The branches are crossing the property line and hanging over my roof. 
Thank you,

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:32 AM by Jill

What state are you in? 
#1 Read your bylaws and Master Deed to find where your ownership of the property begins and ends.  
If you own the property the trees are on then its your responsibility. If its on common ground then its the associations responsibility. If its on limited common ground then its the associations responsibility. It seems the association is stating since the trees are hanging over your house then its your responsibility.  
The fact that the're already threatening to put a lean on you can just be a scare tactic.  

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:39 AM by Victor

I am located in Florida. 
Thank you, 

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:43 AM by Jill

Jill here is a link that might be of help to your situation. 

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:47 AM by Victor

You need to speak to a qualified real estate attorney and take your documents with you. Spending an hour with an attorney is more cost effective than trying to fight it by yourself. Without looking at your documents, it is difficult for anyone to advise you. I would also get a lot plan with a satellite photo (often available for a low cost from your county/municipality) that shows the trees and the property line. Pictures would help too. 
If the trees are on common property, the Association most likely is responsible for them. That does not mean they HAVE to do anything. Most states have laws that state you may trim branches that hang over your property up to your property line. It is a fuzzy area to me that the association can require you to trim them, except in regards to making you maintain your home and lot.  
In regards to the roots, well, the sewer lines are yours. Tree roots search out water. It is your responsibility. Bringing that up muddies the water and makes any argument you would make on the trimming responsibility vague and just brings in elements not related to this case, even though in your mind it is because you are mad about it.  
If anything, for your own building maintenance, you should trim or have trim back the branches over your roof. It will prematurely age your roof.

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:54 AM by Joe Schuirmann

~ (imo) All the more reason to 'reverse' this HOA invasion of our country. Homeowners were much happier before the HOA takeover of our lives. Before some opportunists discovered that they could have power and make money by spitting out unreasonable rules and regs within certain communities. Isn't it time to gather and fight back? Don't get me wrong, some rules serve good purpose but too many of them are too Totalitarian.... 
In this case, if they cared about the owners, they would make the landscaper (on payroll anyway) available to all the home owners at one time to take care of 'all' the overground trees within the whole developed property, because it's very costly for each homeowner to hire a tree timmer. Another plus to my suggestion is: All the overgrown trees will be done uniformly by the one company...making the job more cost-effective (cheaper)....

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 8:43 AM by KELLI2L

We have dare trees on a number of our townhouse fron lawns and the front lawns landscaping has been maintained by the association. They are responsible for the irrigation as well as maintaing the landscape trimming etc. It is in our CC&R's and By-laws. It also cover our water usage. The trees are also the responsibility of the association.

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 2:24 PM by TomassoTucson

Thanks Everyone! I appreciate all your responses.

posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 6:05 PM by Jill

Wow! huge oaks and pines--you are so lucky. I'll trade with you.  
Enjoy their beauty, their shade in summer (saving you A/C expense, their fragrance, the color of the pines against a blue sky, the sight of a full moon seen through their branches.  
Spend the money, take care of your tress. If they are on your property they are yours. Bless yourself.  

posted @ Friday, April 22, 2011 9:13 AM by Bruzza

Yes, the trees are beautiful, however, they sit on community property and are not mine and will be VERY expensive to trim back. 
Thanks all!

posted @ Saturday, April 23, 2011 6:48 AM by jill

Please keep us up to date on how this plays out. It sure sounds to me as though your Board is shifting their responsibility to the homeowners. In fact, if you are correct in saying that the trees are on community property then the Condo or HOA would be responsible for any damage to your personal property. 
Which is cheaper? getting your own attorney or trimming the trees?  
What about getting other owners together? 
Boris & Charlie

posted @ Saturday, April 23, 2011 7:24 AM by Boris & Charlie

If your By-Laws state that the front lawn landscaping is the resposibility of the association, of course the tree is their responsibility. But not in your back yard. That would be your own resposibility. It's in our By-Lays and the HOA can not get out of it.They have to trim it. The have to spray it. Your By-laws are a legal document.

posted @ Saturday, April 23, 2011 10:16 AM by tomassotucson

One of our condo owners keeps cutting back the trees. We have a landscaper, tree trimmer. What is the law governing this individual? This is Broward County.

posted @ Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:21 PM by Cherie Baker

If the tree or a part of it is on your neighbor's property he can prune that part that extends of his property without your permission.,..

posted @ Wednesday, May 18, 2011 4:35 PM by Bruzza

I think that when it comes to tree care in Calgary, then the HOA should for sure cover it.

posted @ Wednesday, August 07, 2013 9:20 AM by Darcy Webb

HOA definitely needs to take care of any and all tree service no questions asked.

posted @ Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:42 PM by Charles Neslon

I think that they are responsible for anything that has to do with a tree service. I don't think there is much they can do to fight it or anything.

posted @ Thursday, January 09, 2014 9:55 AM by Simon Adair

I'm glad that this is under the owner's responsibility. Getting my sewer line replaced is a very important part of the foundation. Nobody wants bathroom problems. http://www.joefreiexcavating.com/sewerline/

posted @ Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:08 PM by Bob Strong

I can tell that I'm at least not alone in thinking that yes, the HOA should be taking care of the trees. It might be a different matter if you had planted it. Since that's not the case, it is squarely on their shoulders. Thiago |www.australtree.com.au

posted @ Friday, April 18, 2014 10:46 AM by Thiago

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