Garden Policy
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Homeland Village Community Association Policy for Installation of Gardens, Shrubs and Improvements on Condominium Property

Homeland Village Community Association (HVCA) is responsible for maintaining the common areas of the two condominium properties within Homeland Village. HVCA permits condominium owners to install gardens and shrubs in the limited common area and the common area adjacent to their condominium unit. Due to the lack of a formal policy governing these installations, problems have surfaced related to maintenance issues and transfer of condominium units to new owners or renters.

The following policies govern all current and future installations by condominium owners (garden, shrub, or other improvement) on the common areas in the community, and improvements to the limited common areas in the community. Common areas around condominium units are defined as any area outside the building walls or the boundaries of the fence not including sidewalks or porches. Limited common areas around condominium units are defined as any area adjacent to the building that is partially fenced and includes a shed or patio – this entire rectangular area from the outer portion of the fence to the building wall is, for the purposes of this policy, considered the limited common area.

All condominium owners that have installed gardens or shrubs in the common areas adjacent to their unit will register those installations with HVCA. Prior to registering the installations, they must be updated to conform to the following guidelines that will be used for all future installations. Non-owner residents must register or apply for new installations through their condominium owner.

Gardens and shrubs are installed at the owners risk and expense. HVCA is not responsible for damage to gardens, shrubs or other items of personal property that are located in the common areas. If contractor damage occurs to gardens or shrubs that are fully surrounded with substantial edging materials, and the damage is related to normal landscape maintenance, the owner may contact the landscaping contractor to negotiate reimbursement for the damages.

All gardens and shrubs that are not fully bounded by a fence and a concrete sidewalk will be surrounded or edged with suitable and tasteful wood or concrete materials that are set into the ground. The border will be suited to withstand damage by landscaping equipment, including string trimmers. Owners are advised that wood edging may be damaged by string trimmers and may need to be repaired or replaced from time to time, at the owners’ expense. Larger shrubs (only) may be placed on common property without a border provided they are surrounded by a mulched area that is properly edged and sized to prevent damage by a string trimmer or mowing equipment.

Owner-installed gardens and shrubs will be fully maintained by the owner including regular weeding, trimming, pruning, mulching and prompt removal of expired, unsightly or invasive plant materials. Yard trim will be disposed of promptly in accordance with Montgomery County recycling laws.

Prior to installation of a garden or shrub in a common area, a request must be submitted to and approved by the HVCA Covenants Committee. A Community Bond form must accompany each application.

When a condominium unit is sold or rented, the sales or rental agreement will notify the prospective purchaser or tenant that the occupant of the condominium is responsible for the maintenance of the gardens and/or shrubs, and that HVCA is not responsible for damage thereto. In the case of a sale, a Community Bond form must be completed and submitted to HVCA by the new owner within 30 days of occupancy.

Owners that plant ivy or other invasive plant materials must maintain the plants within the confines of the garden area. Ivy or other invasive plant materials will not be allowed to grow on any condominium building, fence, balcony or other structural common or limited common element.

Gardens must be aesthetically pleasing and consideration must be given to the future size and habits of all plant materials and shrubs installed in the common areas. Vegetable gardens or containers are not permitted in the common areas and must be placed in areas that are screened from public view, in accordance with the HVCA Declaration of Covenants, Section 10.02.

Common area trees and shrubs may be removed or substantially changed by a decision of the HVCA Board of Directors. Owners that base certain aspects of their owner installed gardens on common element trees or shrubs will not be consulted or recompensed in the event of the removal or substantial change to a common area tree or shrub.

Pots, planters, tools, bagged and other landscaping materials will be maintained only in areas that are at least 20 inches beyond landscape maintenance (turf) areas, or within the confines of a shed or patio area. Neither HVCA or its contractors are liable for damage to, or reimbursement for personal property that is placed within 20 inches of a landscaping maintenance area.

With the exception of mowing and trimming turf, and the maintenance of any community-installed shrubs or trees thereon; the maintenance of the limited common area is the responsibility of the unit owner or the condominium association.

All future improvements to the original common and limited common areas must be removable. Application, appropriate fees, and a community bond form must be submitted to and approved by the Covenants Committee PRIOR TO installation.

If owner installed gardens and/or shrubs are not properly maintained, the owner may receive a 15-day notice to properly maintain the plant materials or to restore the area to its original state. After 15-day written notice to the owner to restore the common area, if the area remains unchanged, HVCA may, at its option, fully or partially restore or refurbish the common area and charge the current owner for all expenses incurred in connection therewith. The charges will be placed on the owners’ HVCA assessment account and after 30 days will be treated as an unpaid assessment.

Either condominium association in Homeland Village may also enforce this policy, and may place restoration expenses on the condominium owners’ assessment account (instead of the HVCA assessment account) in accordance with their condominium documents. The condominiums may also expand this policy to include fines for non-compliance in accordance with their documents and subject to the documents of Homeland Village Community Association.

Policy adopted this 20th day of November 2003 at a meeting of the Homeland Village Community Association Board of Directors.

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Last modified: 09/05/07