Many California homeowners live in areas and communities governed by homeowners' associations, or HOAs. Various aspects of the look and maintenance of a home or outdoor area can be governed by the rules laid down by the homeowners' association. These restrictions accompany the deed to the home, but many times, people find out just how intensive they can be years after their initial investment.
One couple in Washington State is engaged in an ongoing dispute over trees on their property. Their initial agreement with the HOA notes that large improvements to the home and landscaping must be approved in advance by the homeowners' association. Sixteen years after their initial home purchase, the couple has become concerned about several trees that border the house. The trees are close to the home's roof and could cause significant damage if knocked over in a storm. In addition, the roots of the trees are disrupting the garden's stone pathways and threaten the homeowners' septic system.
While the HOA approved the removal of one of the disputed trees, the other trees have remained in place. The requests to remove those trees have been repeatedly denied by the HOA because they did not originally include the information about their septic tank. The homeowners originally teamed up with their next-door neighbors to seek removal of the trees, but now those neighbors have moved, and a land survey has revealed the trees to be rightfully located on the other property. The homeowners that are concerned about the trees are seeking other options to address the potential hazard to their home.
Dealing with an HOA can be a difficult part of homeownership for many. While the benefits of a homeowners' association can be great, overly aggressive or restrictive HOAs can put a damper on the property rights of homeownership. An attorney can help homeowners dealing with HOA disputes to seek an amicable resolution through mediation or dispute resolution or pursue the issue further in court.