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Homeowners' Association will enforce landscaping rules

In California, gated communities with posh amenities may require some central management that can manage numerous administrative tasks on behalf of the homeowners. A Homeowners' Association, however, is not an organization that is without controversy.  It often has to deal with homeowners who do not appreciate the attempts at conformity that usually motivate the HOA. These dynamics exist not just here but in all states where HOAs are found.

One family in a gated community is currently battling an HOA over the issue of trees. When the couple moved in 20 years ago, the trees were a selling point. But some of the trees near their house are so huge that they have come to bear down on their rooftop. Such a situation has caused their homeowner's insurance premiums to go up. They and a neighbor both petitioned the HOA for permission to cut the trees down, but they were denied.

In the past few years, they have continued to squabble with the association for permission. It has been steadfastly denied, except for one tree, which the couple have had removed. But when they started on a second tree for which they had no permission, the HOA stepped and got a court injunction. The homeowner's association agreement that the homeowner signs may give wide authority to the association regarding landscaping, trees and outdoor amenities.

They were fined $6,500 for not obeying the last directive by the HOA. They have given up hope to change the situation and must live with the perceived danger that the trees pose to them. Whether in California or another state, home purchasers must investigate thoroughly the agreement and practices that the homeowners' association will compel on them. They must also review with their attorney any land restrictions or other impositions on their use of the land that may exist in their chain of title.

Source: thenewstribune.com, "Couple faces off with Caterwood HOA over trees", Danielle Chastaine, Dec. 28, 2017

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