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Subject: Single out one property to follow rules
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Author Messages
WolfgangG
(Florida)

Posts:2


05/14/2019 4:08 AM  
Hi everyone,

Can an HOA single out one property to follow the "Rules and Regulation" about the height of hedges?
Means if there is a rule that says a hedge can not exceed the height of 6 feet, can they enforce this on just one property while they do nothing about all other properties with much higher hedges?

Any help is much appreciated!
BobB31
(Florida)

Posts:121


05/14/2019 4:13 AM  
No, this is called "selective enforcement" and can be grounds for legal action against the association if the homeowner chooses to take that route.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8408


05/14/2019 4:50 AM  
How do you know they are not addressing those? Just like someone else presenting this "argument" doesn't mean it isn't the rules. Plus each area is different and not the same. Are they are on a hill? Are they blocking the view of something? Seems keeping bushes trimmed to 6 feet is reasonable and a good thing. Believe me, cutting bushes higher than that, your not doing yourself any favors.

Former HOA President
ND
(PA)

Posts:330


05/14/2019 5:47 AM  
It depends . . .
What exactly do your rules and regs say about hedge height?
What is the exact rule that the homeowner has been accused of violating (is it hedge height or something else closely related)?
How are hedges defines? Does the violator have a hedge? Do the other properties have hedges or something else?
There are potentially nuances to your question/situation that may lend themselves to different interpretation and therefore different enforcement methods.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:371


05/14/2019 7:06 AM  
The height of the hedges is not really the issue here. Melissa is 100% correct when she says how does one homeowner know that another homeowner is allowed to break the rules. Only the PM and the board know who is being fined and what stage the violators are actually in at any time.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:214


05/14/2019 9:08 AM  
I don't disagree with anyone. I also can't understate the importance of reading your CC&R's plus rules and regulations with the specific intent of determining the answer to this particular question. Even though the violation notice includes a description it really is important to view it within the context of the larger documents.

That said in my HOA we have some completely corrupt board members. These people are as bad as the worst nightmare people love to talk about when hating on HOA's. Selective enforcement is standard operating procedure for these mobsters. They make up their own laws and their own rules while disregarding other real laws and rules the don't agree with. It's an amazing sight to behold and terribly frustrating for people they deem to be "enemies of the state" to deal with.

I was an HOA president for a long time and have been a homeowner for even longer. Your best weapon is reasonableness. Do your homework by reading those documents then decide how to proceed from there.
WolfgangG
(Florida)

Posts:2


05/14/2019 9:25 AM  
That's what is in the Rules and Regulations:
"Homeowner must trim and maintain the hedges on all sides not to exceed six feet."

>How do you know they are not addressing those?
The higher hedges are there since many years, some of them for sure 12 feet or even more.

There are 1600 houses in the community and likely 80% of it do have hedges higher than six feet.

It's not on a hill because it's in Florida. There are different plants used but approximately 50% of all hedges/plants are the same as in this case.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:214


05/14/2019 10:09 AM  
If you want to fight it you'll need to develop evidence.

This means you'll need a tape measure, a camera app for your phone that date/time stamps your photos, and time. You would want to find homes with similar hedges as your and take photos that include the tape measure for perspective. If the hedges are tall enough maybe just standing next to them would be enough for the perspective. Be sure to include photos of the homes as a whole that hopefully include their address. You'll need to do this a minimum of once a month for several months and I would personally pick five homes as examples and the closer they physically are to your own home the better.

You absolutely can go after an HOA and win but your ducks must be in a row. Furthermore during the time it takes you to develop evidence it may be wise to trim your hedges.
ND
(PA)

Posts:330


05/14/2019 10:14 AM  
So the "rule" is . . . "Homeowner must trim and maintain the hedges on all sides not to exceed six feet."

That's horribly written in my opinion and open to varied interpretation. And if you really wanted to, you could probably pick it apart and debate it's vagueness with the Board (although their interpretation will likely remain unchanged) . . .

"on all sides" . . . all sides of what? the hedge? the house? the lot?
"not to exceed six feet" . . . six feet height? six feet length?

Your options as I see them:
- Comply with what they are asking you to do . . . neaten them up and trim them down to no more than 6' . . . after all, by virtue of moving into the neighborhood, you agreed to follow the established rules, including this one. Move on with more important things. Unless trimming your hedges is some significant task for you to accomplish, this is likely the simplest, wisest, and least time-consuming option.
- Request a hearing before the Board per established processes and ask these very questions. Why are they enforcing now after years of apparent non-enforcement? Will this be enforced throughout neighborhood?
- Ignore it and hope it goes away? (Be prepared for additional notices and/or fines.)
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