Be clear to strata owners on what yard work is necessary
Can strata council make owners prune and maintain trees? (FOTOLIA)
Dear Tony: Our strata corporation is 118 townhouses. Everyone has their own backyard and most yards have large trees that provide shade for those areas.
We have always required owners to maintain their own yard areas and it has worked well. Several owners have pruned and managed their own trees and generally the property looks in good condition.
Now we have a number of people who want their trees pruned and several trees are causing damage to roofing, but the owners of those units refuse to do the work.
Our bylaws require owners to maintain their own yards, so what options do we have if these owners don't do the work?
Can we just prune the trees and have them charged?
Hi Kyle: Before you can force the pruning and costs on owners, you first have to be clear on who has the responsibility. Your backyard areas are designated as limited common property on the strata plan, and your bylaws require owners to maintain limited common property; however, your bylaws only require custodial maintenance, those obligations that occur once a year or frequently.
They also specify that the limitations are to cutting the grass, weeding, cleaning yards, snow removal and clearing drains weekly. The bylaw does not require owners to prune and manage trees, maintain fences or gates, or any other repairs that occur less than once a year.
Strata owners and corporations commonly assume that just because the area is common property it is automatically each owner’s responsibility — that is incorrect. The designation of limited common property is simply the allocation of exclusive use.
If you want owners to be responsible for maintenance and repair, that will also require a bylaw setting out those conditions.
Tony Gioventu, Executive Director
Condominium Home Owners' Association (CHOA)