Monday, May 28, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Who's responsible for yard's condition?

Who's responsible for yard's condition?

Q: I rent a home in a HOA. The yard is in terrible condition, and the association is threatening action against me. Is the yard my responsibility or the homeowner's? There is nothing in the lease about yard care.

A: Contact the owner and inform him of the problem. You should notify the association of the owner's name and address and ask it to forward the complaint. In most situations, the HOA cannot take action against tenants, as they are not a party to the association by the lease and the complaint directly.

You need to resolve a misunderstanding as to who is responsible for the maintenance of the yard. That should have been part of the questions covered in your lease or by verbal description of your responsibilities as a tenant. The answer to your question is that the association would need to take action against the owner, but the owner may come back to you to resolve the problem.

Squatters present a tricky situation

Q: We are a HOA with a board and a manager to handle the affairs of the community. One of our homes has squatters living in it. We alerted the manager and the board. They say there is nothing they can do and said that I should call the police. I am reluctant to report this matter, as I fear retaliation. I believe it is a board's and manager's responsibility. Are there laws that address this?

A: Managers cannot just report the problem to the police, as they are a third party to the affair. However, they should report the matter to the board and attempt to contact the owner of the home.

The board is similar in that it cannot file a police report as a third party, but it can instruct the manager to notify the owner of the situation. I would only hope that the board has been on top of the fee payments for this home. If the fees have not been paid, the board should have engaged an attorney to place a lien and foreclose in an attempt to collect funds. The board should seek guidance from the attorney as to what action should be taken.

If the board has not taken legal collection actions, then it needs to ask an attorney for advice. If the squatters are a possible threat to others in the community, the board should involve the police, as it has some legal involvement for the welfare of the members.