My condo association is destroying community property (in the form of trees) based on the preferences of a tiny percentage of the residents. These trees are not being replaced, and are being left as ugly stumps, two of which are directly outside my window. I feel that this has reduced my personal property value, and the property value of the community as a whole. In addition, I feel it breaks the trust that homeowner's fees should be used to MAINTAIN the property, not destroy it. I would add that this optional tree destruction is occurring in the midst of budget problems that are preventing trees that die naturally from being replaced - a double whammy of tree loss.What are my rights as a partial owner of the common elements to prevent that common property from being willfully destroyed by the condo association?
It depends. The law provides the association cannot make material alterations or substantial changes to the common areas without approval of 75% of the members. That leaves it open to a lot of debate because most courts do not consider changes to landscaping as a material alteration. There could be an issue though if the landscaping adds to the scheme of the community, such as large oak trees to create a southern theme.
You should consult with a condo lawyer to get a thorough review of the issue.
This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at www.stagelaw.com.
Attorney Stage has given you good advice. If your and your neighbors are unhappy with the actions of the board of directors, you should attend a board meeting and voice your displeasure. If you to not get appropriate action from the board, you may want to hire a lawyer experienced in condominium law to represent you in your dealings with the board.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
As a side note, you do not say what type of trees or how close they are to the buildings. Sometimes roots of certain types of trees can cause serious damage to building foundations when they are planted too close - and "too close" often depends on the type of tree invovled. Is it possible that the trees had to come down as a protective measure? An experienced community association attorney might be able to look at such items and help you and the association reach an accomodation - whether it be in new but safer trees, or that the trees are farther from the building in order to protect the structure itself.
This is not intended to be legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If more information is needed, you should consult with an attorney in your state regarding the specifics of your situation and the options available to you.
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