Featured News 2016 Does Your City Have a View Ordinance?

Does Your City Have a View Ordinance?

Do you live on a hillside or on a lot where you have a breathtaking view of the ocean or the city below? If so, you may be wondering if there is a law in place that prohibits your neighbors from obstructing your views. After all, the view is probably one of the reasons why you bought your home in the first place.

Most homeowners cannot stop their neighbors from obstructing their views, whether it's the view of the ocean, a lake, or the city, unless there's something such as a subdivision rule or a local ordinance.

However, most cities will enforce one exception and that is a neighbor that deliberately and maliciously decides to block their neighbor's view with a structure that serves no real purpose.

Some Cities Have View Ordinance

Some areas are known for their incredible vistas and ocean views, and the neighborhood takes pride in them. Some cities have decided to adopt what are called "view ordinances," which protect homeowners from neighbors who allow their views to be obstructed by trees.

Unfortunately, such view ordinances do not prohibit neighbors from building structures that block people's views. Instead, view ordinances generally allow homeowners who lost their view to sue their neighbor whose trees are obstructing their views.

If a property owner is successful, they obtain a court order that demands that their neighbor restores their view. But if someone has a problem with their neighbor's tree, first they must ask their neighbor directly to restore their view by trimming or topping the tree.

Usually, the complaining property owner is the one who covers the cost of taking care of the tree. Some species of trees may be exempt from a view ordinance, or a tree that is on city property may not be subject to the ordinance.

If your city does not have a view ordinance, other local laws regarding fence height limits or zoning laws may be applicable to your situation. To learn more, contact a real estate attorney.

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