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Can an HOA sue a tenant over a view ordinance?

| Feb 6, 2021 | Real Estate |

View ordinances exist so that tenants cannot obstruct their neighbor’s view with trees or additional buildings. Protecting the view of the property also protects the value of the condos. 

If you are part of a Homeowner’s Association Board, you may have run into an instance where a tenant does not respond to warnings regarding view ordinances. After multiple warnings and no improvement of the situation, you may wonder if you can sue the tenant and require them to maintain their trees. 

An HOA can sue a tenant for breaking the rules

The short answer to this question is yes, an HOA may sue a tenant for refusing to abide by the rules. According to FindLaw experts, HOAs generally require a tenant to sign a legally binding document before they move into the area. This document details what the tenant may or may not do. If a tenant continuously breaks the rules of that document, the HOA has every right to sue him or her. 

When it comes to view obstruction, however, you may want to consider a few elements before you push for a lawsuit, such as the following: 

  • Did the tenant plant the tree prior to the implementation of view obstruction rules? 
  • Is the tree a protected species? 
  • Are there any provisions that allow the tenant to keep their tree up? 

A lawsuit may be more trouble than it is worth

Lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming. Although the HOA has the right to sue the tenant, not everyone on the Board may agree that it is the best choice. Typically, HOAs sue tenants for serious infractions of the rules. However, if another tenant is adamant that the tree is obstructing their view, the Board may agree it is the correct form of action. 

An HOA has the legal right to sue tenants who do not follow the rules. Just because it is the right of the HOA, however, does not mean that minor infractions will result in litigation.