HOA won’t allow homeowner to cut down tree that’s destroying her home

Many times I hear from homeowners that they purchased their townhouse or condo so that they would not have to mow the lawn, shovel snow, and maintain trees adn shrubs on their property.

But buying into a low-maintenance association-governed community has its down side.

For one thing, a homeowner loses control over when, how, or even IF the landscape that surrounds them is maintained.

Ask Penny Armstrong, an Austin homeowner in the Village at Pleasant Valley. Within a few feet of her townhome, a Mimosa tree’s roots threaten the foundation of her house.  The tree has already encroached on a privacy fence, and created wide cracks in her patio.

But the HOA says Armstrong needs their approval before she can have the tree removed. Unfortunately, they’re not about to provide approval. The homeowner would like to remove the tree without approval, but, in doing so, she risks being fined by the HOA.


Jacqulyn Powell
Updated: Apr 17, 2018 07:38 AM CDT

AUSTIN (KXAN) – An Austin woman says the foundation is beginning to crack under her home after her HOA refused to let her remove an invasive tree in her yard.

Penny Armstrong says when she bought her townhome at the Village at Pleasant Valley in southeast Austin, she noticed her fence was bowing because a tree between her patio and the fence was pushing it out.

“I thought, ‘Oh gosh, first thing in order, I’m going to cut that tree down. It’s on my property line, so it shouldn’t be any problem,'” Armstrong said.

But, she says, it did end up being a problem. Armstrong’s HOA has the say in what happens to trees in the community, even though the Mimosa tree causing issues is on Armstrong’s property.

Armstrong says she voiced her concerns repeatedly

“Finally, they sent a guy over, and all he did was cut my fence,” Armstrong said.

Read more (Video):


So, let’s summarize Armstrong’s predicament:

The homeowner has already spent time and money obtaining professional opinions of three arborists (tree experts), all of whom agree that the Mimosa tree’s roots threaten her home’s foundation. They all say the tree needs to go.

The HOA insists that they consulted an arborist several years ago, who said the tree is not a threat to private property.

And, as reported by KXAN news, if Village at Pleasant Valley HOA still refuses to work with her, Armstrong’s only option is to consult an attorney to help resolve the issue with her HOA. That’s likely to cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. All because some HOA decision makers refuse to be reasonable.

KXAN report tree threatens home
(Source: KXAN news video screen capture)


So much for the value of a low-maintenance lifestyle.

1 thought on “HOA won’t allow homeowner to cut down tree that’s destroying her home

  1. Hey guys, don’t forget who holds all the aces! The HOA!

    Not being a lawyer, but my guess is there’s a mediation provision in the CC&Rs to handle issues like this. Let an independent specialist decide. However, yep, the homeowner has got to act and file a complaint against the HOA seeking mediation.

    Now, does the owner have to wait until substantial damages occur before she can act? If so, then the HOA can be hit with intentional neglect just like the recent swing case where the HOA had to had to eat $2,000,000. The only defense the HOA would have is that they control landscaping and the maintenance of trees.

    In a healthy community, the ethical conduct would be to hold a mediation by an independent specialist.

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