February 6, 2015

Recent Court Decision Interprets Tree Covenants

The Washington Court of Appeals recently issued an unpublished decision that interpreted covenants governing trees in a residential community.  The Court ruled that the covenants prohibit removal of natural tree growth consistent with the plan of development and impose a six foot height limitation on trees not protected under the plan of development (including natural growth).  The Court noted that the tree height restriction must be enforced even if that necessitates the removal of the trees at issue. 

The Court admitted during the course of its decision that the tree covenants before it were "not a model of clarity." It can also sometimes be difficult for association boards to decide what certain covenants mean.  Consulting with an experienced attorney can help ensure that such covenants are understood and enforced in the correct manner.