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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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COMMENTS

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.  
 
Vic 
 

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. 
 
http://realestate.findlaw.com/neighbors/home-neighbors-trees.html 
 
Vic

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


The HOA should be responsible, I would think. They should just hire a tree service to come and do the work so neither one of you has to worry about it. That seems like the easiest solution. 
 
Lana Lynch | http://cartwrighttree.com/tree-trimming/

posted @ Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:47 AM by Lana Lynch


If it was a preexisting problem, I don't think that you should be responsible. Unless they told you about it before you moved in. It is a good idea to get them trimmed back though, if they are that overgrown. 
 
http://www.arborforce.com.au

posted @ Tuesday, May 27, 2014 7:12 PM by Anita Mas


I think it depends on the association. When I moved into a new place that already had overgrown trees, they didn't make me pay for it. It was nice. http://www.cvltreeservice.com

posted @ Thursday, May 29, 2014 6:25 PM by Anita Mas


I would think that trees that are getting in the way on your property should be removed. Do the owners know about your dilemma? I would try talking to them to see what they can do.  
Jayden Eden | http://matts-tree-service.com/

posted @ Friday, June 06, 2014 7:51 PM by Jayden Eden


I would definitely make sure the trees aren't on your property. I would then check the bylaws yourself and make sure that it is your responsibility. If not, I would make the HOA absorb the cost to maintain the trees and insist that they maintain them since they are causing so much damage to your home. 
Claudia Rosenburg | http://www.dariotreetrimming.com/Stump_Grinding_Yard_Cleanups_Sylmar_CA.html

posted @ Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:21 PM by Claudia Rosenburg


I think they should be responsible for old trees. The trees are part of the property, and you buy everything on the property. I think it would definitely increase the value however, if they were to cut down the trees before selling it.  
Edmond Vandergraff | http://www.charlestonstumpstompers.com/services/

posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 10:06 AM by Edmond Vandergraff


If the trees are located on common property, it seems logical to take this one against the board. It just so happens that your house is the one in danger, but it could have been anyone. See if your board is willing to compromise on the cost, or take it on entirely. Good luck! 
 
Jenn | http://www.vabeachtreeservice.com/Tree-Trimming-Virginia-Beach-VA.html

posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 10:13 AM by Jennifer Davies


We had some trees that grew over our house too. Luckily, we didn't have to pay for it in the end. Good luck! 
 
Anita Mas | http://www.tripointtreeok.com/services

posted @ Friday, June 27, 2014 6:26 PM by Anita Mas


My buddy lives in an apartment and he had a problem with overgrown trees as well. I am not sure if he had to pay for it or not. I know that he got it fixed, though.  
Jayden Eden | http://www.allseasontreeservicealberta.ca/tree_and_shrub_pruning_and_shaping.html

posted @ Monday, June 30, 2014 6:19 PM by Jayden Eden


They should make the seller responsible for cutting down the trees. Cutting down trees can really be a lot of hard work. I don't know how they used to do it back in the pioneer days with just saws and axes. Just pulling up one stump alone with my truck took all day. I couldn't imagine clearing out an entire forest to build. http://www.thetreeguysoftexas.com/contacts.php

posted @ Monday, July 07, 2014 2:51 PM by Emily Merrell


I think that they are responsible for the trees. For us, we have to take care of the grass. And we usually can do our own sprinkler repair which is really nice. http://www.sprinklerserv.com/more_info.html

posted @ Monday, July 14, 2014 6:39 PM by Brittany Matthews


I agree with Emily, the association should be responsible for cutting down a tree if it is dead, and dangerous. We had a little one in our yard that we really didn't like. It was covering up our view, so the HOA made us pay to get it removed. http://www.woodlandtreeandlandscape.com/nj-tree-services.html

posted @ Friday, July 18, 2014 2:31 PM by Tony De Azevedo


We have some old trees on our property that are causing a lot of problems. The roots have grown up, and are cracking the sidewalk. This is going to be a really difficult problem to fix, but hopefully the HOA will help us out. http://www.royaltrooter.com

posted @ Friday, July 25, 2014 3:02 PM by Talmage Dangerfield


I agree. The irrigation should be covered. Landscaping can be a luxury to have. I really think the irrigation is important. 
http://www.emeraldirrigation.ca

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 11:11 PM by Elias Rufus


It really depends on the regulations of your HOA. That is seriously what it all comes down to. I would go see what the various regulations are concerning it and then go from there. That's help out the most. 
 
Jim Tracy | http://www.talltimberstreeservice.com/services/tree-shrub-removal

posted @ Monday, August 04, 2014 3:08 PM by Jim Tracy


I think that the condo association should be in charge of cutting down old trees on the property. In our complex they are usually the ones that trim our trees every year, so I think they should also be responsible for hiring someone to cut down old ones. We had one that was completely dead, and was starting to be dangerous in our back yard. We were just waiting for the day that it would fall and destroy something. http://www.dariotreetrimming.com/Stump_Grinding_Yard_Cleanups_Sylmar_CA.html

posted @ Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:34 PM by Edmond Vandergraff


I don't think that's fair at all. I had a tree in my yard that was starting to touch my house so they took care of it for me. I would just make sure you talk to HOA and make sure they pay for it.  
http://www.charlestonstumpstompers.com/services/

posted @ Tuesday, August 05, 2014 5:51 PM by Ray Smith


If I was responsible to care and pay for trees that weren't mine, I would not be happy. The HOA should understand that you did not put those trees in. It would make sense for them to responsible once the old tenant moved out. If there is no better option, I wouldn't hesitate removing the tree altogether. 
http://www.coastwidetreeservices.com.au

posted @ Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:47 PM by Pedro Cintas


They planted those trees so they should take care of them. It isn't up to the people living in the condos to take care of a tree that they didn't even plant. It's the associations property so they need to call a tree service to get it trimmed or taken down. http://www.tripointtreeok.com/services

posted @ Tuesday, August 19, 2014 12:53 PM by Edmund Wells


Trees are the property of the present owner. If they are on the owner's property they are his property whether or not he/she planted them.  
 
In the same manner, the home is his/hers whether or not he/she built it.  
 
This is pretty basic stuff.

posted @ Tuesday, August 19, 2014 1:02 PM by Linda Otto


I think you should pay for tree trimming. It's a service that they are giving you, but you could do it yourself if you don't want to pay for it. It's kind of a hassle, though. http://www.greenandgoldtreeremovals.com.au

posted @ Friday, August 29, 2014 4:55 PM by Dolores Brown


Yes, they are responsible for old trees. These were not planted by the current owner and therefore is not their responsibility. In a windy area I would definitely require this. If the tree looks too old then the landlord should pay for the removal of the tree. http://www.seabreezepropertyservices.com/landscape-services/landscape-design-installation/

posted @ Thursday, September 04, 2014 10:25 PM by bobby roosco


Wow, that is a really hard situation to deal with. I would be really upset. I think when it comes to landscaping, it should be the responsibility of the tenant. But if there was a problem before you even moved in, it should the owners responsibility. http://www.oliverslandscaping.com

posted @ Wednesday, September 10, 2014 2:40 PM by kiara thorne


Are the trees actually on your property or are they overhanging onto your property? If they are on your property I would think you would have to cover the costs. If not someone else should be taking care of that service. http://www.hitreetrimming.com/services

posted @ Wednesday, September 10, 2014 8:57 PM by Chevy Jones


I think you are responsible for the trees, because you bought the property. I don't see how the trees would be responsible for the trees. You're going to need someone to do all the tree care. http://www.northernsuburbstrees.com.au

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 3:34 PM by Tom Stubbs


Well, I think that the owner is definitely responsible for those trees. You can't expect the HOA to do everything for you. If it is too much work though, you can hire a tree service to help you out. http://www.yarnelltreeohio.com/services

posted @ Friday, September 19, 2014 5:35 PM by Tony De Azevedo


I love the planet. Try too transplant it. If it is damaging the pipes though, get a professional to pull it out. As far as I know, I think it is up to your board. http://smittystreeservice.net/

posted @ Friday, September 19, 2014 7:55 PM by Guy Miflin


That is a good question. It really depends on where you live and who you talk to. I'd ask a professional. http://andersentree.com

posted @ Saturday, September 20, 2014 10:21 AM by Gary Birtles


It sounds like the HOA has made a mistake. Check your documents to see if the trees are on common property or not. If they're not your responsibility, the HOA should be maintaining them. 
 
Jenn | http://www.a-1experttreeservice.net

posted @ Saturday, September 20, 2014 1:14 PM by Jennifer Davies


I agree with one of the other commenters who said to get a lawyer involved. If the trees are on common ground and you have documentation to prove that, I would bring your case in. Otherwise, see what kind of estimate you could get for trimming the trees from a landscaper or similar. http://www.lawnscapeshydroseed.com/Hydroseeding_Services_Rehoboth_MA.html

posted @ Tuesday, September 23, 2014 11:01 PM by Angela K


My husband wants to do some more landscaping to our yard. He really like to work in the yard. It is one of his hobbies. I like to work in the yard with him. We have been searching for a new project to do in the yard.  
Emily Smith | http://www.woarebuilderssupply.com/Pages/LandscapeStone.aspx

posted @ Thursday, September 25, 2014 9:17 PM by Emily Smith


I would imagine that this would be under the responsibility of the HOA. It could come down to your contract though. Just make sure you have help if your going to try to trim the trees. It's a lot easier and safer to hire a professional to do it for you. http://kctreecaresiteks.com/Services/

posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 9:40 AM by James Harvon


I think it would be great if the HOA was involved. If it is in a common area, I think it should be their responsibility. It makes sense in my mind. http://www.scottlanestreesrv.com

posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 10:57 PM by Gary Birtles


Those trees probably needed to be lopped years ago. It's a pain, but better to get it done late rather than never. Otherwise they're just going to get more overgrown.  
 
Jenn | http://www.woodpeckertreeservices.com.au/services

posted @ Friday, October 03, 2014 8:38 PM by Jennifer Davies


I would offer my ideas but I think think it'd be taken too well. My dad whenever we'd get angry would kick us out side with a hatchet and told us we couldn't come in until we had 'hacked out' our anger on a stump. This method worked surprisingly well as me and my brother fought A LOT. Other wise I would see if they would be willing to negotiate on getting the trees fixed. http://www.adelaidetreefellingservices.com.au/services

posted @ Friday, October 03, 2014 9:00 PM by Lars Melger


Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do. The trees need to be serviced. Whether you or the HOA does it doesn't matter as long as it gets done. If you talk to the board, I'm sure they'll take up the excess cost. 
 
| http://www.affordabletreecaretx.com/services.html

posted @ Tuesday, October 07, 2014 9:43 PM by Marcus Fillion


I would assume that the owner is responsible for the trees. Especially because old trees can be responsible for a lot of damage. They can fall during storms, or their roots can interfere with the pipes underground. If there are any risks you should tell the owner immediately. Even then you may want to have a good tree removal service in mind, just in case. There's lots of good ones out there. I hope everything works out for you! http://mendozatreeservice.com/treeremoval.html

posted @ Wednesday, October 08, 2014 9:52 PM by Tyrone Hill


If the tree doesn't need to be replaced, then I don't think it will have too much affect on the situation. If it needs to be removed, I think it would be the responsibility of the owner. But if it's more of a preference, it should be done by the one who wants it gone. http://www.kingdomstreecare.net.au

posted @ Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:13 AM by Jim Tracy


That's strange that they are so into getting the trees trimmed all of a sudden. I wouldn't know what your rights are. I hope that there can be a good arrangement figured out. 
 
Nora Moore | http://www.northshoretreeservices.com

posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 9:19 AM by Nora Moore


Did your board change directors? It's possible that they're deciding to enforce laws they hadn't enforced previously. It's a pain for the current owners, but those trees sound like a hazard. They could easily damage buildings or power lines. Whether you or the HOa does it, they need to be removed. 
| http://www.jeffgreenstreelopping.com.au

posted @ Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:49 PM by Jennifer Davies


I think that you need to express these concerns with the HOA. Although if there isn't anything in the bylaws about it, then they might be able to pin it on you to fix. In that case, I'd suggest getting a good company to come out and take care of it at a more affordable price. Good luck. 
http://www.jttree.com/Tree_Pruning_Los_Angeles_CA.html

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2014 10:03 PM by Jackson Willis


If it was purchased that way, than yes. Unless stated in the contract, the owner should have full responsibility of property care. I would recommend a tree removal service. It will save you time and money! http://www.hodgsontreeservice.com/services.html

posted @ Thursday, October 23, 2014 11:09 PM by Calvin James


Are the trees on your property or the HOAs? It sounds like they're only just starting to enforce some needed maintenance policies. When it comes to trees, they can be dangerous when they;'re that big. You might need to get them removed completely if they're starting to cause problems with the power lines. 
| http://www.cleancuttrees.com.au

posted @ Wednesday, October 29, 2014 9:33 PM by Jennifer Davies


Those trees seem like a huge bother. I would hate to have to deal with them. I'm not sure if they can do that or not. You'll probably have to contact a lawyer if you want to fight it. I would just get rid of the trees all together. That way you won't have any other problems. http://www.coastwidetreeservices.com.au

posted @ Monday, November 03, 2014 9:34 AM by Julia Carlson


If the trees are interfering with your power lines, they should probably be removed. That's something that the board should have been keeping an eye on for years. Trees are beautiful, but they can be dangerous when they grow in the wrong places. That's something to talk to your board about. 
| http://www.knockouttrees.com.au

posted @ Thursday, November 06, 2014 9:59 PM by Jennifer Davies


You definitely should fight this. These trees don't belong to you. It is the responsibility of the association to take care of these trees. You should fight it and put the association in a position to have o hire someone to trim the trees at their expense not yours. 
http://www.truecaretreeservice.com/services.html

posted @ Friday, November 07, 2014 9:34 PM by Anna Jones


I think that it is probably a good idea to get these trees taken care of, since they can become a problem if they get to be too big. However, since you have a new HOA owner, I don't think that it should make a difference. I would think that the association would be responsible if it says so in the bylaws. I would check to make sure with them, and see if there is a service that can come and take care of it, possibly a landscaping service that takes care of trees as well! http://nobletree.net/services/landscape-design/

posted @ Monday, November 10, 2014 6:21 PM by Grant Harper


That's a good question. I would like to believe that it's the HOA's responsibility. With that being said, I would talk to a tree removal service. I'm sure they'd be able to give you the information you need. http://brownstormservice.net/

posted @ Thursday, November 13, 2014 1:59 PM by Cathy


I think that the new owner would definitely be responsible for old trees on the property. They can talk to to the condo association about it to see if they'll cover part of the cost. It would be really nice to have a company completely take care of your tree trimming for you. http://www.heritagetreecare.com.au/tree-trimming/

posted @ Monday, November 17, 2014 3:23 PM by Edmond Vandergraff


It sounds like the trees need to be taken care of-- possibly removed. It's one thing to have large trees in the yard, but it's another to have trees reaching into the power lines and wreaking havoc with the sidewalks. I'd recommend talking to some tree companies to see what your options are before you even get the HOA involved. 
Jenn| http://www.treesafe.com.au

posted @ Monday, November 17, 2014 8:46 PM by Jennifer Davies


The first thing I would do is read your by-laws. At my CA, the trees and grass in the front yard belong to the CA while the ones in the back are mine. They actually do all the yard work in the front. I don't know why this is but it's pretty nice! http://www.farmerslandscape.com

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 11:00 PM by Calvin James


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