PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – For Sandra Palowski, it was a long-awaited sight—the tree trimming trucks and crew pulling up to her mobile home.
Pawloski told the Local 10 News' Leave it to Layron team that the tree outside was there before her family moved in 12 years ago.
But over the years, the tree leaned closer and closer to her home until it finally started leaning on her home. It damaged her roof and walls.
She said she contacted the managers of Holiday Mobile Estates multiple times throughout the past several years hoping they would do something about the tree, but she said all she got from them was the runaround.
"Oh, 'It's going to be done,' 'We just don't know when,' 'We have to see,'" Pawloski said she heard from the Holiday Mobile Estates' employees.
Pawloski said this is why she decided to call the Leave it to Layron team.
"All of a sudden, everybody shows up,” she said. “I had the most famous tree in the world."
An arborist with the Broward County Environmental and Engineering and Permitting Division’s, Tree Preservation Program told the LITL team the tree met the hazard exemption in September 2017. In Broward County, a tree removal license is needed before removing a tree, except in cases where the tree poses a hazard. An inspector visited the property after Hurricane Irma in response to Pawloski’s concerns.
Pawloski felt it was the park’s responsibility to take of the tree. "I could see if I owned the land,” she said. “I don't own the land. I'm renting."
But Holiday Mobile Estates' rules and regulations said otherwise: “trees and shrubs which are on the lot of resident….must be removed by resident as part of the required lot maintenance…Lot maintenance which is to be performed by resident includes fallen tree or limb removal, limb trimming, fertilizing, root trimming or removal…Any tree, the trunk of which is entirely within the boundary of Resident’s lot, is considered to be “on the home lot”…”
"They've gone a step beyond the normal, ‘who cares for trees’, and they've said the trunk, which is located within your lot, is your responsibility," said Nejla Calvo, an attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami (https://www.legalservicesmiami.org/). Calvo leads the organization’s Mobile Home Park Advocacy program.
"If there are provisions of a lease that conflict with the Florida Mobile Home Act (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0723/0723.html), those provisions would be severed and would be null and void."
Calvo read Holiday Mobile Estate’s rules and said the language was not ambiguous. She was hopeful for positive resolution, and was pleased to learn that Pawloski had received a letter from the mobile home park's attorneys, stating, “while Holiday Hallandale is not legally obligated to remove the tree from your lot that is encroaching on your mobile home, [we] will, nonetheless, in good faith, be hiring a licensed and insured tree-removal company to remove the tree.”
"Everyone should read the rules and regulations before you purchase a home within a mobile home park because once you move in, and once you sign that lease, you are bound by that document," Calvo advised.
It took the tree trimming crew much of the day, but, that leaning tree is now a stump.
"I’m just so grateful that that tree has come down," said Pawloski.