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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118688
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I live in a condo and the association owns and controls the

Customer Question

I live in a condo and the association owns and controls the walls around my property. A year or so after I moved in to my new condo (2009) I noticed that one of the walls had a strange looking crack in it. At that time the developer was still managing the property. In conversation with the project manager, I asked it I should hire someone to repair the wall. He informed me that it was not my wall and I couldn't do that - the wall currently was owned by KB and would soon be turned over to the homeowners. This happened eventually and sometime later we all received notices that some of us had our small tv dishes attached to the wall and they must be moved immediately. I phoned the management company that sent out the letter and in conversation was told the walls do not belong to me. I had the dish moved to the ground but told them in the conversation that they needed to check on the wall at the back of my property because it had a crack that was getting larger. Apparently they did nothing. Sometime later the HOA sued KB homes for things on the property. My condo was fine, but they were going to go after them for structures that belonged to the HOA. The crack in the wall was very apparent by this time and I was happy to think that it would now be taken care of. I was wrong, the suit was settled and I heard no more about it, just kept waiting for them to take care of the wall which did not belong to me. It is now 2016 and I received a demand letter from the new management company which knows nothing of the previous contacts. I have been given until Nov. 15 to have a large tree removed from the back yard which they say has caused the problem with the wall. No one has ever mentioned this to me before in the years I wanted the wall fixed - when it would have been much simpler. Also, after I have paid to have this large tree (which I didn't plant and didn't want) the HOA will have someone repair the wall and send me the bill. I am devastated. I am an 82 year old widow on a small fixed income and do not have the resources to pay for this situation which has been allowed to get completely out of hand. Can I fight this and if so on what grounds?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 11 months ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Is the tree located in a common area?

Has the association been maintaining the tree?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If there is a wall crack, which you have documented over the years and have not had it repaired by the HOA, whose responsibility it is to fix the walls, you would need to now sue them for the damage and to get it repaired. If you paid for the tree to be planted by the HOA and did not plant it, you could be liable for removing the tree, but as the HOA planted the tree, they cannot blame you for it causing damage to the wall. Furthermore, you have proof the damage has been there the whole time, so their argument is in bad faith.
Based on your age and the situation, you are going to need a local attorney to represent you, but you should be able to get one from the local legal aid office or even from the local senior citizen center or state bar association if you cannot afford a local real estate litigation attorney to represent you. At this point though, I am sorry to say that the only way this will get resolved is going to be court action I am sorry to say, so you have to get a local attorney and sue them for making repairs they are violating the covenants and bylaws for not making.