Dear Paul: We are a self-managed small bare land bungalow condo complex with some original spruce trees that were planted by the developer. Our understanding at the time was that the Corporation would be responsible for those trees. Since then we have allowed unit owners to plant their own trees on the sides and the back of their units with the understanding that they would be responsible to maintain them. We are at the point now that we are not clear which trees were planted by the developers and which by the unit owners. Because of the confusion as to which trees were planted by the developer vs the unit owners the Board feels that all trees, whether planted by the developer or previous unit owners should be the unit owner’s responsibility. Some unit owners disagree with the Board. We need a clear understanding as to what is the Corporation’s responsibility and what is the unit owner’s responsibility.
LC: Depending on your governing documents once the developer (the Declarant) handed over the condo development to the owners that now form your condo corporation, the developer is usually no longer involved. Any trees that the developer planted before the turnover now belong either to the individual unit owners or the corporation. Trees that were planted on the bare land units (the individual properties) are the owner’s responsibility. Any trees that were planted then or since on the common elements are the responsibility of the corporation. Again, I must stress, that given the numerous variations in contractual arrangements it is critical to check your Declaration, Bylaws, and Rules to determine if any exceptions regarding the care and maintenance of the trees exist. If there is no record, even in the minutes, the responsibility is as described above. Best wishes!
Note: In some condo communities the corporation may be responsible for cutting the grass on individual properties either as part of the monthly condo fees or an additional charge. If anyone has such an arrangement, it should include a clause concerning each item (e.g. shrubs, trees, flower beds, etc.) of the remaining landscaping.