Homeowner is responsible for cost of removing trees planted over sewer lines

Q: I own a home that was purchased new in Summerlin. When purchased, the governing documents stated that all newly constructed homes in the community will have two trees planted by the builder and approved by the association, and as a homeowner I was responsible for their maintenance.

Jump forward 14 years and one of these approved trees has crushed our sewer line running from the house to the street. The approved tree was planted directly over the sewer line — not adjacent to or close by — but directly over the line. Inspecting similar homes on my street I find that most of the trees planted by the builder and approved by the association are directly over the sewer lines.

I called the association office to ask whether there was any reimbursement available for repair work, tree removal and tree replacement, which is required. I was told that it is not the association’s problem. Do I have any recourse to try obtaining reimbursement from the association?

My homeowners insurance has reviewed my policy and since no damage occurred to house itself, I am not covered. I know that there is supplemental insurance available for water/sewer line damage, which will help in future problems, but unfortunately not for today’s problem.

Any advice?

A: I think you are out of luck. First, the timeline has passed as to your ability to contact the developer under the construction defect laws to correct the problem.

Second, according to you, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the trees, per the governing documents.

Q: I am a broker and property manager. One of my clients has a rental property in Aliante with a Section 8 tenant.

Initially, the tenant signed a one-year lease and thereafter requested to stay on month to month.

The HOA considers that as a violation and the board does not allow month-to-month rentals even if they started with a 12-month lease.

Can the HOA do this?

A: This is such a fine line and obviously subject to interpretation from both sides. The regulation’s purpose was to avoid hotel/motel rentals with longer leases to help maintain community stability. Your initial lease agreement fulfilled that requirement. It is not unusual for a tenant to renew on a six-months’ lease or month-to-month agreement.

From the association’s position, you need to renew the lease for another one year.

Who has the correct interpretation? A judge or an arbitrator will make that call. You can contact the Nevada Real Estate Division to learn your alternatives for disputing the association’s ruling.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. Questions may be sent to the Association Q&A, P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, NV 89125. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is support@hlrealty.com.