NBC 6 Responds

Sweetwater Condo Community Risked Insurance Loss Over Tree Problem

Overgrown trees were interfering with a powerline near the El Polo Condominium and threatened to damage property

NBC Universal, Inc.

With their property insurance in jeopardy, residents at a Sweetwater Condominium called NBC 6 Responds for help. Consumer Investigator Sasha Jones reports

With their property insurance in jeopardy, residents at a Sweetwater Condominium called NBC 6 Responds for help.

Overgrown trees were interfering with a powerline near the El Polo Condominium and threatened to damage property.

Aida Estevez, the Condo Association President, said she got a letter from the condo’s insurance provider concerning the trees.

“We have a letter from the insurance company saying an inspector came to the site and saw the trees…and it was damaging to the property,” Estevez said.

The letter stated the trees were a risk to the property and needed to be trimmed or the condo would lose their insurance.

“They advised me that I would need to communicate with the city to trim the trees,” Estevez said.

She said she called the city since the trees were on a public street.

“We called everybody, we even went to the city in person and they just gave me a phone number for maintenance,” Estevez said.

She said she was told only Florida Power & Light technicians could trim the trees since they were touching the powerline. She said she and others called FPL.

“We need to make sure that these trees are free and secure from the powerlines to make sure that they are not knocked down during a storm,” Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez said, adding the city also reported the issue to FPL.

According to emails provided by the city, the city contacted FPL on August 26th but at the end of September, no on had trimmed the trees.

That’s when Aida reached out to NBC 6 Responds and we reached out to FPL directly. Aida says the day after we reached out FPL, a crew came out to trim the trees.

“We had the good surprise that the tree was trimmed from FPL,” Estevez said.

A spokesperson with FPL told NBC 6 in an email:

“FPL trimmed trees near the El Polo condominium on Tuesday to ensure they are safely away from overhead power lines along SW 109th Avenue. The trees are on a public right of way and FPL has spoken with the city’s public works department about the city’s need to coordinate with the condominium on any future trimming or removal of the trees.”

Mayor Lopez wants other residents to be on the lookout for similar problems.

“Report it, tell your neighbor to report it, the more claims they have on the same ticket, the faster it is actually going to get done,” Lopez said.

After FPL cut the portion that touched the powerline, the City of Sweetwater trimmed the rest of the trees to fix the problem.