Q: I want to clean a tree in our homeowners’ community in front of my house. My association wants to charge me about $ 1,000 for cutting down trees, chopping tree stumps, and replacing sod. I have a question, can I charge a fee for this procedure? -Rita
A: Greening in the common area of your community belongs to the community as a whole, not just the member in front of whose house it is located. Your association should support common areas for the benefit of the entire community, not just one member. Each landlord pays regular maintenance fees to their association to cover the costs of maintaining the community. In your case, you are asking for landscaping changes that will only benefit your property. The Board decided that this change was acceptable to the appearance of the area. Even so, the board does not want the cost of making the change you requested to be shared across the community. When I received your letter, I was a little surprised that the board approved it, even if you paid for it. Most of the calls I receive on similar issues are related to the fact that the board categorically refuses this type of request.
Removing a tree is an expensive undertaking and often requires a permit from your city’s building department. Stump removal, sanding, and mud treatment are essential to keep your community looking beautiful and may even be required by local building codes. Fortunately, you seem to live in a community with sound advice ready to work with the individual needs of the members. Now you need to decide if the money is worth the money to remove the tree.