Goodspeed: How to challenge a condo association

LINDA GOODSPEED
CORRESPONDENT

QUESTION:The association board in my condominium complex is planning to cut down a bunch of trees behind my unit. The trees are not especially pretty trees, but they do provide me with a lot of privacy and shade, and do not present any danger to the building. Since this decision mainly affects me, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?

ANSWER: Before I discuss the recourse part of your question, have you talked to the board to find out why they are taking down the trees? Are the trees infected with something? Are they hosting pests of some sort? Also, is the board planning to replace the trees with some other type of trees, bushes, landscaping, etc., or just planning on leaving the area clear? If they are planning on replacing the trees with another type of tree, it might work out all right for you.

Whatever the reason the board has decided to take down the trees, it should be noted that condo association boards, in general, have wide latitude in governing the association. But just because board members have broad authority to handle the affairs of the association does not mean that they are infallible or always make the best decision. Sometimes they make poor decisions.

In your case, the board likely has the right to take down the trees behind your unit, and can decide whether to replace them with something else or leave the area clear without consulting the owners.

Your best course of action is to talk to other owners to see if they prefer to keep the trees. If enough owners indicate that they want the trees to stay, the board might change its mind.

On the other hand, if you talk to neighbors and find that most of them don’t like the trees or don’t care one way or another whether the trees come down, your only option is to try and sway the board yourself.

You could try asking your neighbors who don’t care if the trees are cut if they would support replacing them with another type of tree or landscaping that would give you the privacy and shade of the original trees.

Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: lrgoodspeed@comcast.net.