In California, and especially in and around coastal communities like Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Pacific Palisades, and Manhattan beach maintaining an unobstructed view of the ocean can be a key to maintaining your property value. As a Los Angeles real estate attorney, I am frequently asked about so-called view rights and whether or not they exist. In other words, people wonder whether they can block a nearby property owner from obstructing their views.
In California, generally, there is no natural right to air, light or an unobstructed view over nearby property unless this right is provided by state legislature or by a local government. This right must be express, it cannot be implied. At least one such view ordinance was by held constitutional by the California Court of Appeals. That case, Kucera v. Lizza (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 1141, upheld a Tiburon Municipal Code entitled “View and Sunlight Obstruction from Trees” to prohibit a property owner from allowing trees to overgrow, which obstructed a neighbor’s view.
View rights can also be created by private parties through the granting of an easement or through the use of conditions, covenants or restrictions.
View rights and the ability to restrict a neighbor from blocking your view can be of monumental importance to your property value and, quite simply, for lifestyle purposes. One way to avoid future view blockage problems is to create an easement with your neighbor. If you make the easement run with the land (apply to future owners) you can prevent future owners from blocking your view.
To really understand view rights, it helps to go through the recorded history of the property, local government ordinances, CC&Rs and to examine all possible agreements from prior property owners.
Contact us at Schorr Law, to have a qualified Los Angeles real estate attorney evaluate your real estate matter at no cost.