Eric Glazer, Esq.
June 10, 2013
No matter whether we live in a community association or
not, we would all agree that Florida is lush with green spaces,
beautiful towering palm trees, wide open fields of grass,
exquisitely colored flowers and some of the most spectacular
landscaping on the planet. Just
looking at all of these remarkable trees and flowers should
instantly provide you with a feeling of serenity, relaxation and
calm. Don't you
why is it that some of the most vicious knock down drag them out
fights in our community associations involve landscaping?
Is there no topic that's safe?
What landscaping issues can you possibly fight about you
ask? Here's a few…
Baran v. Ro-Mont
a unit owner planted their own garden outside of the
unit, on the common elements.
The Board removed the garden.
The Board claimed that Baran made a material alteration
to the common areas that required a vote of the owners.
Baran claimed a prior Board gave him the authority to
plant the garden. Baran
sued and won. The
interesting part of the case is that the arbitrator held that
even if a prior Board gave Baran permission to install his own
garden, that was not a decision that resulted in a material
alteration to the common areas,
because landscaping decisions simply fall within the
business judgment of the Board of Directors.
In Mueller v. La Renaissance Condominium, the
association planted 3 palm trees between the petitioner's unit
and the ocean, without first obtaining a vote of the unit owners
to alter the common elements. The petitioner testified that they
are blocking his view of the ocean and that a board member told
him in 1990 that they intentionally planted the trees at that
location to harass him. The arbitrator's view of the trees from
the petitioner's unit revealed that although they blocked a
small portion of his view of the horizon, they did not obscure
arbitrator ruled that routine maintenance of the common elements
is a matter within the discretion of the board, and the board's
decisions regarding maintenance of the common elements,
including the planting of trees, are presumed correct absent a
showing of mismanagement, fraud, or breach of trust. The
arbitrator ruled that the business judgment rule provides that
the arbitrator will not substitute her judgment for that of the
trees get to stay.
Fighting over landscaping.
not just everybody stop and smell the roses once in a while?
So…. Anybody have an interesting landscaping story to