Plants & trees removed without permission

S.L. writes: Dear Paul: Does the Board have the right to remove perfectly healthy plants and trees paid for by the owner, without their permission or knowledge? Paul replies: Dear S.L.: Avid gardeners love their plants and I can appreciate that if you paid for the plants you are referring to, you would be upset. Your question leads me to ask a few questions of my own. Your query implies that you paid for the plants personally. Where the plants located on common elements? If they were and depending on what your documents state, the Board has the responsibility of managing the common elements, which could include the aesthetics of the property. It is possible that your governing bylaws indicate what type of plants or trees are to be planted. If the plants or trees did not meet the requirements, they could be removed. However, I don’t think that taking this action without your knowledge is wise. Common courtesy would be to inform you of the action, and why it was taken. Were the plants located on your property, not on the common elements? This could be the case if you live in a bare-land condominium community. Your governing documents must be carefully reviewed. Many documents state what unit owners are allowed to do on their piece of land even though they own it. The corporation may have the right to determine what the property looks like. Items such as the type of plants, trees, the colour of the home’s siding, the height of shrubs or fences may be defined under your rules. If you were in breach of these bylaws or rules, the Board is charged with enforcement. The manner used for enforcement could be improved upon. If you are concerned about the Board’s action, I encourage you to ask to speak with the Board members at one of their meetings. Dialogue can go long way in developing better relationships. The removal was from your property, you may want to obtain legal advice. Good luck.

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