Seminole County residents resist homeowners' association demands to re-sod yards during drought

by: Angela Jacobs Updated:

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A group of Seminole County residents are crying foul after their homeowners’ association has demanded they re-sod their browning yards during the worst drought Central Florida has seen in 100 years.

The homeowners told Channel 9 that they want their yards to look nice and they want to fix the problem, but that doing so in the middle of a drought seems like a waste of money and time.

Mark Ingvolstad said his yard has not looked worse in the 25 years he’s lived in his Ekana West home.

“Right here will have to be replaced or plugged,” he said, pointing to parts of the yard. “I know this needs attention.”

Current water restrictions are a big part of the problem, as Ingvolstad said he can only water his yard twice a week.

The Ekana West homeowners’ association has given Ingvolstad three weeks to rectify his yard situation, but since the retiree will be doing the work himself, he’s concerned for his health.

“I can’t replace my health if I collapse with heat stroke, and I would think that would be a consideration,” he said.

Seminole County does allow people with new sod to water it for the first month, but the cost can make it prohibitive, Involstad said.

“Once you start watering, you double and triple your water bill,” he said. “It goes from $75 (a month) to $150, easily.”

Real estate attorney Mark Lippman said homeowners have the right to challenge a homeowners’ association’s demands.

While an attorney can be costly, residents can save some money by taking the first few steps on their own.

“People can do the research, make these challenges on their own, and then bring in an attorney where litigation is needed,” Lippman said.

Knowing noncompliance could result in a lien on his property, Ingvolstad hoped the association would reconsider its timeline.

“Maybe (give me) a break until the rainy season comes to finish the job; that would be acceptable,” he said.

A half dozen Ekana West homeowners planned to address letters from the homeowners’ association regarding their yards at a meeting Thursday night.