Get 6 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
HOA Websites by Community123.com (National Community Website Provider)
We built HOATalk and we'll build your community website for free!  Click here for information on a free trial website.
Community Associations Network (National HOA Reference Library)
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: HOA responsibility for land erosion
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
FrederickD
(Virginia)

Posts:7


12/09/2009 11:30 AM  
We are a small HOA in Virginia. One of our residents has a back yard on a downward sloping hill that is being eroded away. The HOA Board was prepared to fund the restoration of this erosion at the cost of $4000 - 5000. One of the Directors feels that the homeowner should share in the cost of this restoration. Our HOA is responsible for all external maintenance, which includes lawncare, but not flowerbeds and mulching. Land erosion is not spelled out in any of our governing documents. Is it reasonable to ask the landowner to share in this cost?
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


12/09/2009 11:58 AM  
Posted By FrederickD on 12/09/2009 11:30 AM
We are a small HOA in Virginia. One of our residents has a back yard on a downward sloping hill that is being eroded away. The HOA Board was prepared to fund the restoration of this erosion at the cost of $4000 - 5000. One of the Directors feels that the homeowner should share in the cost of this restoration. Our HOA is responsible for all external maintenance, which includes lawncare, but not flowerbeds and mulching. Land erosion is not spelled out in any of our governing documents. Is it reasonable to ask the landowner to share in this cost?

Well, a few things would be helpful:

Is this a single-units/detached homes type of HOA or a condo/townhome/patio home (quad or duplex) type of HOA?

Your HOA is responsible for all external maintenance - - of WHAT, exactly? The homes, such as roof replacement, vinyl siding replacement, brick repairs, window replacement. . .or external maintenance of common area structures like stone fences, flag poles, etc.

And paying for LAWN CARE is quite different.

Anyway, the sentence that I am going to base my knee-jerk reaction off of is this one: Is it reasonable to ask the landowner to share in this cost?

My answer, NO, it is not reasonable to ask the LANDOWNER to SHARE in the cost, it is reasonable to ask the OWNER OF THE LAND to PAY for the cost.

Whoever owns the land should pay for the erosion control.

DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


12/09/2009 12:11 PM  

I totally agree with Michelle on this one. If it is common area, the H.O. has no financial nor physical responsibility to repair or restore the erosion. Asking the H.O. to share the cost is not at all reasonable. The hill or bank should have been maintained properly all along to prevent this large repair cost now.
FrederickD
(Virginia)

Posts:7


12/09/2009 12:27 PM  
Thanks for the response. This HOA has standalone homes where each resident owns their land. This is not HOA common land. I believe the erosion is due to the developer not originally landscaping properly.

Our HOA is responsible for all external surfaces of the home (roofs, brick, painting, driveways, roads). We have no amenities and little common ground.

As president, my first thought was to address this backyard erosion before the structure of the house is affected. The erosion is within 10 feet of the back cement patio. Needless to say this would be a large expenditure for our small HOA. Other Board members posed the question of responsibility.
DeeS1
(Michigan)

Posts:223


12/09/2009 1:00 PM  
Our community had a situation where a poorly graded detention pond caused some significant erosion to a HOs personal unit property and the Association paid for the repair to both locations; however, our repair was only $550.

I assume they could legally hold you responsible for the repair anyway if something about the adjacent common area caused it, but you might want to get some advice about actually having work performed on the HO's property. Our board did not look into that and probably should have.

You might also want to check your insurance coverage for such an issue. Ours has many clauses with regard to drainage, erosion, etc.

Our CCRs do have some provisions about sharing costs with HOs for repairs/maintenance that only benefit a specific HO, but we've never needed to determine how that would play out -- but might need to as tree removals become necessary in common area protected conservation areas that back up to HO's individual property.
MariaC
(Maryland)

Posts:15


12/09/2009 1:22 PM  
Homeowners in my townhouse HOA are responsible for maintaining their own property, but our CCRs state that the HOA is responsible for maintenance of common areas and ingress-egress easements. Those easements are on homeowner property, generally the last 10 feet of backyards, the middle 20 feet between buildings (which is end-unit homeowner-owned property), and about the first 25 feet of front yards, which is paved over for parking and sidewalks. Some units back up on common areas and do not have ingress-egress easements in their backyards.

This means that in my HOA, the homeowner would be responsible for all costs if the problem was on the portion of his property that is not on the ingress-egress easement. If the problem was located on or caused by something on the common areas or ingress-egress easements, then the HOA would be responsible for fixing it.

If the erosion is on the homeowner's lot, not common area, and your governing documents state that the HOA is responsible for maintaining any easement areas, check your plats to find out exactly where those areas are. The plats and governing documents dictate the responsibility.
HB
(Oregon)

Posts:143


12/09/2009 1:24 PM  
I would say that the homeowner is responsible for the entire cost unless it says somewhere that the HOA is.
Just because the HOA docs provide for some external maintenace does not mean that it includes ALL maintenance.
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5109


12/09/2009 1:33 PM  
Frederick no matter what the BOD does I see litigation in its future, either by the H/O if you ask them to pay or by one of the other owners if the HOA decides to pay i.e. they have to pay because the requirement doesn't exist in the CC&R's. So my first stop would be with the HOA attorney for an opinion on just what each parties responsibility is. This won't stop the possibility of litigation but it will go a long way in your favor if you are following the advice of a the attorney and not making it up as you go.

"Common sense is like deodorant--the people who need it most never use it."
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


12/09/2009 1:46 PM  
To some extent I agree with Glen, check with your attorney.

But I have to tell you, were I a homeowner in your development I would be contacting MY attorney if the HOA tried to pay for such a project on property that belongs to a homeowner and NOT the HOA.

If the developer or builder did not properly grade that homeowner's property, then that homeowner needs to take it up with the developer/builder.

The HOA has NO ownership of the land and, therefore, has NO obligation or financial responsibility to it's repair.

By the way, I would LOVE to see the section in your CC&Rs that give the HOA financial responsibility for the repair and upkeep of the external of ANY home that the HOA does NOT have a title interest in, such as any structure on a common area, for example.

I'm not from Missouri, but I still say, "Show me" regarding THIS statement:

"Our HOA is responsible for all external surfaces of the home (roofs, brick, painting, driveways, roads). We have no amenities and little common ground. "

I may buy into the idea that your HOA is responsible for the ROADS, but not any of the other items without seeing it in writing.

Now, I hope you're not confusing the HOA's right to restrict what homeowners do with those elements (color of roof, painting of trim, etc) with the idea that an HOA is responsible for repairs and maintenance of a homeowner's private dwelling.

If that's the case, I may want to move to Virginia! It would save a LOT on annual home maintenance!
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


12/09/2009 1:54 PM  
Michele,

Your: The HOA has NO ownership of the land and, therefore, has NO obligation or financial responsibility to it's repair.


I would add that no land or facilities or blah blah that the HOA owns contributes to this problem.

I think your advice is sound and any actions must consider what you stated, by any involved party.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > HOA responsibility for land erosion



General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement