Plainfield, IL asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: Can the HOA in Florida landscape your (rented) lawn without your approval?

Hello! Not super important, but the HOA (to be clear, NOT our landlords landscapers) came and dug up all of the ground plants against the home we are renting, and trimmed all of the fauna and trees, without our permission. All growing areas were covered with mulch as well. I loved the plants in our yard, and they were well contained against the house. It looks so bare now. Is the HOA in Florida allowed to do this? Can we tell them to stop doing so? The plants were not by any means disturbing anything, and many of them were edible, and we used them to cook.

2 Lawyer Answers

A: It's impossible to answer this question without reading the HOA documents, but it is entirely possible they could if they gave the landlord notice to cure a violation and the landlord ignored it. You as a renter do not have very many rights when it comes to the HOA. The HOA documents are a contract between the HOA and your landlord. The landlord is required to submit applications to the HOA for any changes to the exterior of the house and that likely includes landscaping. Your landlord would be the one to complain to the HOA, but very few landlords are willing to risk expensive litigation for tenants. Your lease probably includes a provision you will abide by all the HOA documents as well.

Ellen Pilelsky
Ellen Pilelsky
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: One would need to review the HOA documents as well as your particular lease. Generally, issues such as landscaping and overall maintenance are included in the HOA docs as well as penalties should the HOA docs not be followed. Your lease may contain language regarding maintenance of the property, including the outside areas. Further, one would need to determine if you and the owner received proper notice of the violation.

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