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How can an HOA resolve tree disputes in the community?

On Behalf of | Dec 24, 2021 | HOA Law |

When individuals live in communities governed by a homeowners’ association and share a common property line, questions about certain rights and responsibilities regarding trees on that line are not uncommon. According to the Homeowners’ Protection Bureau, disputes over trees often cause problems like encroachment when neighbors take matters into their own hands regarding overgrown tree limbs and downed branches.

When arguments over trees occur in an HOA community, the homeowners’ association can take several steps to resolve the problem before it escalates.

Redefine property lines

Neighbors who share a property line may not give much thought to a tree on that division until it becomes overgrown, dies or a storm causes limbs to blow into the adjacent yard. When this occurs, both homeowners may claim the other holds responsibility for the cleanup. The HOA can assist with this issue by redefining property lines via the community map and the review of deeds.

Make rules clear

Most HOAs pen rules regarding trees and other flora in common areas, such as community gardens and playgrounds located within a neighborhood, and making clear rules regarding their upkeep and who may alter them can help prevent disputes. For example, if a homeowner decides to plant trees in a common area without notifying the HOA first, the association can reserve the right to remove those trees and fine the homeowner for encroachment.

Encourage open communication

When a tree dispute arises between neighbors, it is wise for the HOA to encourage open communication between the homeowners and begin a conversation about the issues that exist. This may help the association resolve the conflict before it escalates and those who believe they are in the right try to involve others.

Disputes over tree ownership and maintenance come in many forms, so HOA heads may want to update and post laws regarding this issue at least annually.