Condo garden rules for HOA

Condo garden rules HOA
Condo garden rules HOA

Association Spent $2000 To Hire A Landscaper For Member's Garden Without Her Permission, So She Refuses To Pay

My condo unit, my rules. But also, my garden, my rules. The HOA can provide guidelines and instructions about what should and should not be planted in my garden, but it doesn’t give them the right to change or destroy it without my permission.

In this story, that is exactly what the HOA did not do. They didn’t ask for permission before letting a gardening team knock down her plants and garden. Worse, they’re charging her for the landscaping service that removed her plants.

Am I in the wrong for refusing to pay my HOA, which hired a landscaping crew for my area without my permission?

The current lady in charge of our Association  has always disliked our garden. They hire people to mow our lawn weekly, and everything is clean and tidy. However, my mom liked to plant things like tomatoes, cabbages, and mint in the garden. These plants don’t quite fit the so-called aesthetic of the neighborhood, where everyone has black mulch.

When our family went out of the country, my mom, who doesn’t speak English, didn’t notice or understand the letters the HOA sent about our garden. This was before the pandemic. As a result, the HOA hired a landscaping crew that killed all of our tomatoes and put mulch there instead.

I checked the mail and realized it was our fault for not receiving their letters, so we paid the company. After their trip, they stayed in their home, and my mother continued to plant mint. We’ve been in the US ever since. While my mom gave up on tomatoes and cabbages, we still have a strain of mint that grew in our garden. Plenty of people in the neighborhood come and pick some of our mint (after asking, of course). I personally think it looks pretty since it’s just green, and I didn’t think the Association would have a problem with it.

However, they did. Despite being available and having their contact information, the HOA hired a landscaping crew without our permission. The HOA representative has my phone number and my email address (she had emailed me before), and my mom had given her the contact of one of her friends to translate for her if needed. She never contacted any of us.

Instead, one day, a landscaping crew just came in without our knowledge and pulled out all our mint. Now, we have a bill for two thousand dollars. Tensions rose between the family and the Association lady. When I emailed her about it, she told me she thought we weren’t home. This is ridiculous because our lights are on every day, and our car goes in and out of the driveway daily. I’ve even said “hello” to her when passing by.

She didn’t make any attempt to contact us and assumed that since we paid the first landscaper, we agreed she could hire people to do our garden.

Source: Reddit/AITA/Pexels/Daniel Dan

An Association might want to emphasize that while community guidelines and policies are designed to maintain the aesthetic and harmony of the neighborhood, it could be good to recognize the need for flexibility in interpretation. An Association can be committed to proactive and responsible management, ensuring that all actions taken are in the best interest of our community members. Some plantings can ‘work,’ and some others might not, and treating such on a case-by-case approval might be best.

Open and regular communication/reminders and collaboration with Members  for unique circumstances, can be best for Life Simpler.