V.B. from Maryland writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My Association contracts with a landscaping company that cuts our grass. The landscapers damaged my grass over a period of time. The association acknowledged the damage and the landscapers came to re-seed my lawn. Unfortunately, they re-seeded it with a different grass, whose blades are much thinner and color a lighter green than the original grass in my yard. The lighter green appears to be moss. I take much pride in the appearance of my lawn, which is a reflection of my home, as well as its value. I have asked that I be made whole by the association replacing my grass and restoring the original grass so that it can be uniform. At the time (2012), they told me that I needed to wait until next year for it to fully mature and then it will look like the rest. Well, it has now been almost a full 3 years and the re-seeded grass does not look like my original grass. The blades are still thinner and pale. Is the Association responsible for the damage caused by Landscape Company? What recourse, if any, do I have? Thanks in advance for your response.
Mister Condo replies:
V.B., I am impressed with the pride you take in the grounds that surround your condominium. However, I think we may need to talk about Common Ground and who actually owns the grass and land at your condo before I give you my friendly advice. With very few exceptions, condominiums are comprised of the units where the residents live and the common elements that make up the rest of the condominium association. Generally speaking, unit owners own “from the paint on their walls and inward”. Unit exteriors are usually association owned, as are roofs, walkways, roads, parking lots, land, and any amenities such as pools, tennis courts, and clubhouses. There are also limited common elements, which are owned by the association but are for the exclusive use of a unit owner. A deck attached to the back of a particular unit would be a good example of a limited common element.
It is possible that “your” lawn is either yours or a limited common element if it is exclusively for your use. However, that is uncommon. Check your condo docs if you are unsure. If it is association property, all you can do is continue to request that they do a better job maintaining it. If it is your property, you can take whatever action you deem necessary to bring the yard back up to your level of good looks provided you follow any association rules and regulations while doing so.
Hope that helps. I wish you success in bringing back the green!