The HOA Tree Huggers

guest blog by Nila Ridings

Michael Crick of Bridal Trails HOA in Bellevue, Washington loves trees but not ones that are diseased or at risk for falling on his home and possibly killing his family. So, he obtained the proper permits and the city arborist determined the trees he marked for removal were correctly selected.

The cutting began and suddenly a dozen neighbors arrived, including the HOA president, Ray Reass. The number one tree hugger offered Mr. Crick the standard advice given in all HOAs. MOVE! That’s right, if you do not want to take the chance of a dead tree falling on your house and family just MOVE!!! And then she so politely says, “Good Day.”

I can relate to Crick and his tree issue. Next to my garage, on HOA common ground were two very old and very tall trees that started turning brown and dropping needles like rain drops. The HOA removed one tree, but I think it was done more for the purpose of the neighbors who video tape my every move. With that tree out of the way they had a much better shot of my bedroom window and driveway.

My requests to have the other tree removed fell on deaf ears and were ignored. I called an arborist who said it was diseased and a wind storm could blow it down. Being in the the direct line of west winds blowing,  my garage, kitchen, and living room would be destroyed should that tree have fallen. I would have lost two vehicles, my entire kitchen, and everything in my living room. I decided to check with my insurance company about my coverage. I was instructed to write a letter to the property manager letting him know since he was being paid to manage the HOA and had been made aware of the dead tree if it fell on my house my insurance company would pay for the damage, minus my deductible, and then sue him for payment.

Shortly after writing the email to the property manager, I left town for three days. Guess what was gone when I arrived home?

(link to KOMO story about dead trees)


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

1 thought on “The HOA Tree Huggers

  1. Brian Cawley

    When we moved into our lovely part of forested Washington State and I applied for an ACC per the to take down a number of trees, the powers in force at the time said a permit couldn’t be granted so I started explaining how, if it was denied I would see them personally in court should damage occur to property or family safety was impacted. I got my permit


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