Family battles homeowners' association over tree roots

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 6, Orlando

By Louis Bolden

Published September 25, 2015



A local family says they have been battling their homeowners' association over tree roots that are damaging their home.
"I'm so stressed about this situation," Caryn Taylor told News 6.


Taylor said she's stressed about the damage to her home. The damage to the wall in her 6-year-old daughter's bedroom started with a small splinter, then grew into a large crack, which now spans the length of the wall and goes to the ceiling.

On the other side of the wall is a large tree. The roots can be seen above ground and appear to be growing right into the foundation.

"I'm afraid the roof is going to cave in. I mean, it's literally pushing on this wall," Taylor said.

In addition to the damage in the bedroom, which includes cracked marble on the windowsill, the tree roots have also affected the plumbing, she said.

One day when the toilet wouldn't flush, her neighbor used a plumbing snake and ended up pulling a giant tree root out from the toilet.

"If raw sewage backs up, that is disgusting. That's bacteria. That's a health hazard," Taylor said.

Taylor said she and her family members have been contacting the property management company for the Marbrisa Villas Homeowners Association.

She has an email that goes back years. She said the property management company first told her the damage wasn't from the tree, so she hired a home inspector.


"In my experience, I've seen this happen many times," said Andrew Cox, a licensed home inspector who spent hours examining the property. "My opinion is the tree roots are growing and causing the foundation to be raised up, and it's causing pressure on the wall of the house."

But even after sending Cox's inspection report to the HOA's property management company, they got no response, according to Taylor.

"If they would just contact me or my uncle and say, 'Listen we can't cut this because of this,' or, 'Go ahead and you cut it, it's your responsibility,' but they don't tell us anything, they just ignore us," she said.

But they didn't ignore News 6.

News 6 investigator Louis Bolden was able to cut through the red tape, and Frayda Morris, the owner of Central Association Management, agreed to an interview.

Taylor's family never formally requested, in writing, moving the trees at the homeowner's expense, according to Morris. Taylor disputes that.

"Because of this situation, I've already contacted the association's tree contractor to take a look at the area to tell me how much it would cost to remove these trees," Morris said

Taylor disputes that, but said she's glad to finally get answers.

"If I had to, I could get a loan out. If it's the safety of my family, I'll do whatever it takes," she said.

To follow protocol, the HOA will still have to vote on whether the family will be allowed to remove the tree. The vote will be happen at a meeting next month.