Can a HOA refused to take down a tree planted to act as a screen that is no longer serving it’s intend purpose and is causing property damage.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a HOA refused to take down a tree planted to act as a screen that is no longer serving it’s intend purpose and is causing property damage.

Over 20 yrs ago, our HOA planted white pines behind our units to act as a
screen between our community and a local swim club. Now the pines tower
over our homes shading our patio and creating a moist, moldy environment.
Because the lower branches of white pines lose their leaves, the trees no longer
serve their intended purpose AND create a moist environment that is
uninhabitable. Furniture rusts, cushions get moldy, the patio is constantly
covered with vegetation – despite numerous cleanings each summer and the
liberal use of weed killers. The roots of a tree are uprooting a neighbors patio.
The arborist agrees it was a poor choice for the application but the HOA refuses
to remove the trees and replace them with something appropriate to the use. I
live in NY – what recourse do I have?

Asked on April 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can refuse to do this. It is their tree; they do not need to replace it with a different tree, or even simply remove it, because it is not fulfiling its intended purpose or is creating a less-desirable environment for a property owner, the same way someone does not need to remove a tree because it is shading a property where the other property owner does not want shade, or is blocking someone's view. The law does not require consideration for others.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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