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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55285
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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I live in a small neighborhood. A private road, an easement,

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I live in a small neighborhood. A private road, an easement, provides access to all the driveways. When I purchased I agreed to pay my fair share for road maintanence. The rights and obligations are detailed in a document called 'Declaration of Easements and Conditions' This is how it describes road maintenance "Maintenance expenses shall include, but not be limited to: XXXXX XXXXX of snow and ice and the future resurfacing, paving and/or patching of the aforescribed private drive together with any future expenses incurred in maintaining utilities" The last hurricane created a lot of damage. Some of the lot owners have refused to clean up their yards to the satisfaction of other lot owners. The Neighborhood association that collects the dues for road maintenance wants to use some of this money to hire a company to clean up tree damage in these yards. I keep my yard in good order and I faithfully pay my dues. Can the Association legally take money that I have in good faith given for road mainenance and use it to clean up the yard of another property owner.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good evening. The HOA cannot. This is a breach of their fiduciary duty to all homeowners. Each homeowner is responsible for maintaining their own yard. If they fail to do so, the association can cause it to be maintained, but the association must bill the homeowner for reimbursement and can also fine the homeowner. The association does not have the right to take funds reserved for a specific purpose such as road maintenance to pay for a cost that is not the association's responsibility. To the extent the association does so, the board of directors and officers are in breach of their fiduciary duty and subject to civil suit and to removal.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Very good. One small wrinkle. After the storm the road was blocked with snow and debris. Some homeowners moved some of the debris to the side of the easement so the road could be plowed, the easement extends 10 ft on either side of the hard road. One of the property owners in an attempt to help took his plow and pushed the debris from the easement which is his yard further into his yard to get it out of the way. Note this is woods not a finished yard. This is what the Association finds messy. It is this that it intends to clean with the dues. They claim that members of the Association pushed the debrie onto the easement and thus the Association is responsible to remove it

Thanks so much for following up and clarifying. Given the facts, it is likely if this were to go to a court for interpretation that the court would find the association would have the right to use funds to clean this debris. The reason being is that it would have been the association's responsibility to clean the debris from the easement, which would mean not making it someone else's problem by pushing it onto their land. If there are excess costs involved due to it being pushed onto the land, the association could then seek recompense from the homeowner who caused the additional expense by pushing the debris onto a homeowner's property rather than resolving the problem within the easement boundaries.
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