Tree Disputes in HOAs: What the Law Says

Trees may be one of the most beautiful creations of nature, but they are also a point of debate for many HOAs. While others can’t help but be mesmerized with their beauty, others get too stressed because of their dropped leaves and overgrowing canopies.

Everyone has their opinion, and it can be hard to say who’s right or wrong. In this post, we will talk about the laws related to trees in HOAs to give you a sound idea on how to handle disputes about trees.


What are laws regarding trees?

If you are not familiar with the laws associated with trees, they can quickly get you confused.

The first question to answer is: who owns the tree? According to Civil Code Section 833, a tree belongs to the person whose land has the tree’s trunk, regardless if the roots spread into the property of another. Further, Civil Code Section 834 states that a tree whose trunks stand partly on the land of more than one person belongs to all of them.


When do trees become a nuisance?

A tree becomes a nuisance if its branches or roots invade over the property of another. The person whose land is invaded by the tree can trim the overhanging branches or destroy the invasive roots. Don’t cut any part of the tree until you are sure the law is on your side because you can be liable for damages if the worse happens.

Before you get rid of invasive roots or trees, make sure to consider the following:

  • Let a certified arborist inspect the situation and let him write the proper request for assistance or abatement that outlines the reason for abatement.
  • Take a photo or video of the invasive roots or trees.


What is the next step if you suspect a tree to be hazardous or diseased?

Call a certified arborist to assess the tree. If the tree is hazardous, you should take action and resolve the issue. If the tree belongs to your neighbor, talk to him first before putting your concern into writing and making your next step. You should also talk to your local government to file a lawsuit. A lot of local governments have ordinances regarding trees so make sure you check with them to ensure you are compliant with them.


What are the common tree problems in HOAs?

One of the many issues in HOAs regarding trees is their removal, especially if the owner doesn’t agree to it. The HOA is responsible for keeping the common area beautiful and safe for everyone. They should preserve and maintain landscapes.

A tree should be eliminated, no matter how aesthetically pleasing it may look of it is posing a hazard to the neighborhood and nearby properties. If this is the case, it might be the best decision to remove the tree before it causes any future troubles to anyone.

Overplanting is also one of the issues prevalent in HOAs. If too many trees are planted and they are in the wrong place, they should be removed. If the HOA sees that the owner of the tree plants too many trees that was inconsistent with the community, the trees may be subject for removal.

Pensacola Tree Service can guide you through the complexities of dealing with tree removal involving HOAs.