The experienced real estate and litigation attorneys at the Watkins Firm have helped to resolve many disputes between neighbors over the past several decades. One common question in San Diego relates to the right of a property owner to enjoy an unobstructed view. Presently, in California there is no law on the books that provides rights to an unobstructed view. However, it is perfectly legal for a municipal entity or even a neighborhood Homeowners Association (HOA) to place guidance on view preservation, tree height, fence height or the future development with regards to an existing view. These issues are usually addressed in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions or CC&Rs and regulations associated with a deed or municipality are almost always enforceable.
However, many disputes arise over trees. Trees grow, and when you purchase a property you must take into consideration the existence of trees and other vegetation. Existing agreements to keep trees trimmed may not be enforceable in the future. Usually, disputes such as view disputes or other neighborhood issues such as noise or boundary disputes can be resolved by our attorneys through effective leveraged negotiation. These situations can get out of hand, and it is better to nip the challenge in the bud and move forward.
The old saying “good fences make good neighbors” obviously holds merit. California does have specific laws regarding “spite fences”, or constructing any sort of fence (including the planting of new trees) in order to create “…a private nuisance to maliciously erect or maintain ‘any fence or other structure in the nature of a fence, unnecessarily exceeding ten feet in height…for the purpose of annoying the owner or occupants of adjoining property’.” When it isn’t possible to work out an arrangement with your neighbor directly, it may be necessary to seek the advice of seasoned San Diego real estate attorneys. If you are involved in view disputes, bitter neighborhood issues or questions relating to your boundary or lot lines, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation at 858-535-1511.