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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55699
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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My HOA sent me a letter stating I have to remove a tree [this

Customer Question

My HOA sent me a letter stating I have to remove a tree [this was all prompted by new neighbors behind us who don't like that one of our trees is tall enough that it's leaves fall into their yard].

Here's the history - we moved into our home in 2001. Our landscaper submitted plans to our HOA which were approved. They included a Texas Mountain Laurel tree in the corner of our back yard - a tree not on the HOA approved/prohibited list. Unbeknown to me [I'm in the Army, I'm not an arborist] a Sisso was planted instead. I wasn't aware of this until this week.

The Sisso, when we moved in, was also not on the HOA approved or prohibited lists. At some point - and I don't know when - it was added to the HOA's prohibited list.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne...a tree was planted in our back yard that wasn't on our original plans, at the time wasn't on approved/prohibited list. It is now on the prohibited list. Do I have to remove it? What are the repurcussions if I don't? Do you recommend fighting this, if so how?

Thanks, George [[email protected], XXX-XXX-XXXX]
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 5 years ago.

Good afternoon. It depends upon how much you want to keep the tree. Since the tree was not on the prohibited list...even though not specifically approved and nothing done at the time when planted...then later when prohibited, it would have been required to have been grandfathered. HOA board members tend to be a bit like bullies...they enjoy their little power and tend to push people around...but when pushed back, they tend to fold pretty quickly. In my experience, I have almost always prevailed when pursuing these cases. If you want to keep the tree, if it were me, I'd fight the HOA on this by sending the board members a letter detailing the above and demanding they drop this effort. Inform them that otherwise, you will file a suit against the HOA and each member individually. If they don't drop it, file the suit. It's amazing what being served with a summons that one is being sued does to take the starch right out of a board member. :)

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the quick answer. If I understand you correctly...the HOA has to grandfather my tree? It doesn't matter that it wasn't on our original plans, it doesn't matter that it is now on the prohibited list [even though it wasn't in 2001]? They can't force me to cut down a tree that was planted when we moved in & since became banned?


Is there any State/County/City law / requirement / code / ordnance, etc here in Arizona [specifically Goodyear, Arizona, which is in Maricopa County] I can cite in my response to the HOA? Anything I can cite as a precedent?


If I can cite a judgement or law which states the above...that the HOA has to grandfather a tree that's now on the prohibited list - even if not planted IAW my landscaper's plans...that'd help a lot! Thanks again, George



Expert:  Richard replied 5 years ago.
That is correct. The scope of JA is to provide research the question to provide citations for statutes and case law is beyond the scope of what I can provide. I'm sorry.