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Question: Our homeowner association has a running battle about trees. Some view any tree as a nuisance and would prefer to cut them all down. I'm a tree hugger who considers trees an asset to be preserved and protected. Can you discuss the value and care of trees?

Answer: Trees are one of an association's biggest assets and should not be removed without compelling cause. But some do need to be removed from time to time. For more on this subject,

Question: The landscape contractor destroyed part of my downspout. A work order was turned in to the management company and I was given a completion date which came and went. A month later, we experienced heavy rains and the missing downspout allowed water to enter and damage my basement. I called for emergency repairs and was told I would have to wait. I paid for the repairs to the downspout and basement myself and I am billing the association for reimbursement. Am I within my rights?

Answer: The association is not automatically responsible for damage to your unit. For example, if torrential rains caused the gutters to overflow and flood your basement, the damage would be yours to repair. Under the scenario you describe, however, the management company (the association's agent) obviously failed to respond in a timely manner. This failure resulted in damage which rightly should be paid by the association. Of course, the Board may have an issue with the management company for failure to respond but that's another Q&A.

Question: Our governing documents read that we need to have 2/3 of the members to vote "yes" in order to amend the documents. Is failure to respond considered a "yes" vote?

Answer: Failure to vote does not qualify as a "yes" vote. Sixty-seven percent is a relatively high threshold so it's important to tally every vote, yea or nay. If voting by mail, there may be a number of ballots that aren't returned for one reason or another. Those owners should be called and reminded or the ballots picked up (except in Florida...hee, hee). If a meeting is held to discuss and vote on an amendment, each owner should be complete and return a proxy in advance of the meeting designating someone that is authorized to vote on their behalf if unable to attend. The combined total of attendees and proxies can usually produce the 67% needed to pass the amendment.

For more information on this subject, .

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