Q: I live on the ground floor in a four-plex dwelling. If I am correct, the covenants, conditions and restrictions and bylaws state that the owner is responsible for any damage to his or her concrete floor within the confines of his or her living unit. In my case, damage to my concrete floor is within my attached patio.
There are many large trees growing in my community. I estimate they are 35 to 40 feet tall. My concrete patio has been uplifted by the roots of one of these large pine trees in the common area growing right next to my unit. I have been living here nine years and the damage keeps on getting worse. The four sections of the patio concrete floor are not level, with the production joint of one higher than the other. It is now a definite tripping hazard. I would like to have my floor fixed. Since the tree is not my property and is on common area, I feel that it is the association’s responsibility to repair the patio concrete floor. Is my assumption correct?
A: Yes. The association has a responsibility to maintain its landscaping so as not to create any damage to the common area or to an individual’s home. In this same manner, the association would hold you responsible if one of your trees was causing damage to the association or to another member.
You need to obtain bids as to the cost to repair the patio. Then write a letter with photographs of the tree and the patio, along with the bids. In the letter, inform the association about the damage, and ask them to make arrangements to fix the patio. You can give the association a deadline.
If the association ignores your request, or refuses to fix the patio, you will have to make the repairs and then file a small claims action against the association for reimbursement.
The association also needs to take action with the tree. Sometimes the cutting of the roots will help, but often the tree needs to be removed. You cannot remove the tree.
If the association refuses to take any action with the tree, you can contact the ombudsman office and ask for an intervention.
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 Association & A., P.O. Box 7440. Las Vegas, NV 89125. Her fax number is 385-3759 or she can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.