Hazardous Tree

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philip
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Hazardous Tree

Post by philip » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:23 pm

An arborist brought our attention to a big hazardous tree that appears to be located in open space of our neighbourhood and approximately 59 feet away from the rear edge of our house. This tree has a fairly large cavity with rotten wood and mud. We also noticed the presence of carpenter ants in that cavity. We belong to Home Owners Association (HOA). I contacted our town about this tree, they suggested that the open space belongs to HOA and HOA should address our concern about the potentially hazardous tree. I tried to contact HOA president by several e-mails, phone calls and a certified letter. Once HOA president called me back and said that he would send somebody to take a look. I tried to contact HOA president again to check the status, but he is not responding to my phone calls or emails. Based on what I read on the HOA website, home owners are not allowed to alter open space in any way. Also based on HOA website, HOA president is the contact person for any questions or concerns regarding open space.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this and what is the best way to address the issue. Am I unnecessarily concerned about this tree? I want to be reasonable and prefer not to make HOA or neighbours unhappy.

Here two pictures of the tree:

http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/Fair_Home/media/20160608_132504_zps86mklpwx.jpg.html
http://s1044.photobucket.com/user/Fair_Home/media/20160608_132520_zpscz6uxplm.jpg.html

Thanks,

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TxAg
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by TxAg » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:34 pm

If it falls your way, will it damage your house, fence, land scaping, etc.?

If not, then I wouldn't worry about it. If so, drive over to the HOA President's house and knock on the door.

btenny
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by btenny » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:35 pm

I would get one of those golf range finders and measure how tall the tree is and then measure the distance to your house. Then you can be sure some part of the tree will hit your house when it falls. Then put this information into a letter to the HOA President and send it to him registered mail. Tell him the name of the arborist that showed you the tree rot and core damage. Tell him you are very concerned about the potential hazard from this tree and the liability issues if this tree falls and damages your home or others. Talk nice in the letter but be direct and tell him the HOA needs to remove this hazard before it causes big damage and the associated liability issues. Ask him to have the tree removed ASAP to prevent damage. Ask for a written notice about the HOA plans and schedule.

Good Luck.

tomd37
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Location: Middle Tennessee

Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by tomd37 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:56 pm

Philip - I have been through your particular situation. There was a sixty-foot diseased and dying tree in the common area behind our home that was dropping large limbs onto my property. Insurance companies state that if the tree or parts of it fall onto my property it is my financial responsibility to remove it. However, they also say that if I properly report it to the HOA as a dead or diseased tree and it falls onto my property the HOA has financial responsibility to remove it from my property. I also checked with my personal insurance company and they too gave me the same information. This is the same information I gathered when searching this subject online.

What I did was to have my licensed and certified arborist come out, inspect the tree, and give me a letter stating the tree is diseased and is dying. I used that letter as part of correspondence to both the HOA Board and to their management company. The management company representative had also their own arborist come out to inspect, but apparently the HOA did not want to spend the money to remove the tree. As of now parts of the tree have fallen into the common area (woods) but none on my property as yet and the way it is disintegrating it does not appear that it will fall onto my property.

Now the other side of the coin; I have served on this Board in the past and agree with their policy of not paying for fallen tree cleanup. However, as a member of the Board I have encouraged the removal, at Board expense, of some common area trees that pose a safety and liability issue to persons and nearby personal property. No sense in asking for problems in some situations. Tree trimming and removal can be very expensive. :dollar
Tom D.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:50 pm

Do you live in an area that's cold in the winter? Where I am (New England), it's very common to get freebie tree removal, if it's not a difficult felling. The cutters down the tree and cut it for firewood. This assumes that it's hardwood. I forest manage my property so have plenty of cleanup from storm damaged trees or trees impeding growth of other trees. It it's not in a place where it can damage anything, I'd think it would be free to remove it.
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philip
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by philip » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:40 pm

Thanks for all replies.

If it falls your way, will it damage your house, fence, land scaping, etc.?


If it falls to our side, it will definitely damage our fence and lawn, and maybe our house as well.

btenny and tomd37:

I already sent a certified letter to HOA with a copy of an arborist opinion about the tree a while ago. The arborist thinks that this tree can be hazard to our house. No reply from HOA :x At least I expected HOA to give us the permission to trim or do the removal ourself :( .

Jack FFR1846:

We live in New England. I will explore this option but I need to get written permission from HOA or town before exploring this.

I am thinking to consult a Real Estate Attorney.

Once again I appreciate all replies.

tomd37
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Location: Middle Tennessee

Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by tomd37 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:51 pm

Does your HOA have a management company under contract? If so send them a letter also as sometimes they have more power over a non-responsive HOA President or Board. I speak from experience dealing with a poor HOA President.
Tom D.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:47 pm

Doesn't your HOA have BoD meetings? Attend one and raise your concern. It will be added to the minutes so you have a solid paper trail.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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pondering
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by pondering » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:24 pm

Getting your concerns into the minutes might not be so easy. On another issue I raised the point at the committee meeting only to have it edited out of the minutes.
--Robert Sterbal | 412-977-3526 call/text

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Wildebeest
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:12 pm

We had a tree, which might fall on our house. We had asked the previous gardening service who to use? They had a inexpensive guy but when he showed up to cut some trees, he brought his 3 and 6 year old children when he was cutting down our trees, he stated he was going a divorce and did not have day care . This seemed so wrong.What if his kids got hurt, who would be sued?.

We used this guy anyway ( my only excuse is that I am an idiot) and then made the mistake to pre pay $ 1000 to cut down this tree, and he took our money and cashed the check and we asked him, when he was going cut the tree, after tracking him down and cornering him: he stated: "sue me".

I have a chain saw and I cut down many a tree and I cut this tree down myself without getting hurt, but it hurts anyway to be taken for a fool and be taken for $ 1000.

PS: We have a new gardening service.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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celia
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by celia » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:32 pm

Wildebeest wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:12 pm
We had a tree, ...
Thanks for sharing your story so we can all learn from it.

We, too, knowingly hired an unlicensed "contractor" for remodeling. We gave him a deposit so he could order wood and supplies. Little did we know he had a drinking problem....and wasn't interested in shopping for supplies. But we did get most of our deposit back in an indirect way.

Now when we hire someone, we check on previous work they've done and verify they have insurance and a license. We will soon have some trees removed, so this thread is useful for me.

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pondering
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by pondering » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:55 am

How much effort is it to sue someone or are you worried if you can collect?
--Robert Sterbal | 412-977-3526 call/text

Lafder
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by Lafder » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:01 am

Are you sure you have the correct contact info for the HOA ? It seems unusual to get zero reply. My HOA board members turn over every year. Perhaps send an email to all board members, and track down the HOA insurance company and send them notice about the tree as well. The insurance will be motivated to get the tree taken care of if they know they will be responsible if it causes damage.

I am impressed by the info already shared as it matches what my prior online research has shown.

Each homeowner's insurance covers damage to their property from a tree or branches falling, even if the tree was entirely not on your property to begin with. (I believe it would be the automobile insurance if it was a damaged car)

However, if you notify the owner of the tree that the tree is a hazard, it can shift the responsibility to the tree owner if that tree causes damage to your property.

If the tree is on common property and owned by the HOA (which includes you) is there a policy and funds available to pay for tree trimming or removal? Is there a tree or landscape committee to contact ?

In my own neighborhood we have gone around and around about these issues every few years. Homeowners are often upset to learn damage from a tree to their home is their responsibility even if the tree was owned by the community on common grounds, and not on their property. It is pretty clear that is how insurance companies handle trees and root damage.

We pay an arborist to inspect our community owned trees every year and trim any damaged areas to insure that if there is a branch break or tree fall, the expense for the damage is on the individual homeowners since we are keeping the trees in good health and breaks are unpredictable. We have had to remove mature trees on occasion that were determined to be too much of a hazard and liability.

lafder

tim1999
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by tim1999 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:02 am

My guess is that they will do nothing about it, especially since it looks like it's in an unmaintained woodland area. Of course, if it falls into your yard, and you put the pieces of downed wood back onto the open space property, they may cite you for illegal dumping... :oops:

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dm200
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by dm200 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:27 am

BolderBoy wrote:
Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:47 pm
Doesn't your HOA have BoD meetings? Attend one and raise your concern. It will be added to the minutes so you have a solid paper trail.
Yes - bring it to the attention of any and all board members.

Check with your homeowners insurance to make sure you ar covered if your property is damaged.

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Geneyus
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Re: Hazardous Tree

Post by Geneyus » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:56 pm

If you already put the HOA on notice about the tree rotting and being a hazard, in my state they're liable for any damages to your property due to the tree falling. If it involves a freak occurrence (lightning strike, car hitting tree, etc), then sometimes the property owner isn't liable and the victim's homeowner insurance comes into play.

I would keep a record of all correspondence where you informed them of the rotting tree.

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