Does my Home Owner’s Association have the Right to Dig a Trench and Leave a Mess on my Property?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I live in Conroe, Texas. I have a 1 acre peice of property in a gated community. There is a 14 ft utility easement at the front of my property as there is a transformer there. The HOA came in on my property and installed Electrical power panels to service a gate for back entry/ exit to the sub division. They did not have my permission. They also dug a trench completely across my property about 2 feet wide to reach the transformer for power to the gate and when finished left my property in a mess. My question is, did the HOA have the right to do what they did without my permission? It is my understanding that a Utility easement is set up so that the utility company has access to work on equipment they have installed, not for the HOA to come in and do as they wish with. Can someone please explain to me if they have exceeded their rights?”Well, first you need to check the easement to determine who has it. If the utility company has the easement, then only they have the right to make use of it. If the HOA has the easement, then they have the rights. (It is possible, and not unusual, for more than one person or entity to have an easement over the same physical piece of property.)

Question: It’s also possible that your HOA has rights over all the member properties, either pursuant to their rules and bylaws or to the CC&Rs that bind each property owner. This would be a right independent of a particular easement.
Barring one of those two things, it seems unlikely that the HOA had the right to trespass on your property in this way. But why guess? Put it on them to justify what they’ve done, and if they cite something in support of their right to do it, take the citation to a lawyer and find out if they’re right or just blowing smoke.