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Albert from Delaware

I’m 78 years old. I served in the U.S. Army for five years, am married to Grace with whom I had six children, worked as an electrical contractor in New York State, and moved to Camelot Meadows in 1999. I collect an annuity of $8,767 annually and receive $20,446 each year in Social Security payments. Grace gets $8,926 from Social Security making our yearly income around $35,000. We really liked the area and Camelot Meadows’ affordability was one of the reasons we moved here. Our monthly lot payment was $250 which included water. It has more than doubled to $591, and no longer includes water.

We have beautiful trees in Camelot Meadow planted by ELS. The problem is that ELS doesn’t maintain the very trees they planted. Homeowners, like me, are being forced to take care of their trees.

In Delaware that is against the law. Community owners are required to maintain, care for and remove, if necessary, trees on any lot, including common areas, if the tree is at least 25 feet in height, or has a main stem/trunk larger than six inches in diameter.

I had asked ELS to trim some of their trees that had weakened limbs around our property. ELS refused. One day a large branch came down and hit my car causing $1,800 in damages to a door, a mirror, and the hood. When I called the community manager about what happened, the manager said that it was an “Act of God,” but that they would be willing to pay my $200 deductible if I agreed not to sue them.

The way ELS operates is unbelievable to me. I’m paying more in rent every year, and getting less for it. And, they still don’t take care of the trees as they are legally required to do.