What do you do when your neighbor decides to renovate his home, plant a tree, or somehow obstruct the nice view you have? Well, it seems that you may be out of luck. Most homeowners do not have a right to a view unless it has been granted by an ordinance in the homeowner's municipality or subdivision. While some cities have adopted ordinances that protect the right to a view, it typically does not cover buildings and other structures. You can ask a Massachusetts real estate lawyer, like us, about your specific area’s ordinance (if they have one). A view ordinance will cover a pesky tree that is overgrown. The complaining neighbor can sue the owner of the tree in court with the help of a Massachusetts real estate attorney. This can result in a court order that requires the tree owner to restore the view.
Be forewarned that most of the time, complaining neighbors will have to bear the costs of trimming the tree. What’s even worse is that sometimes, certain trees can be exempt from the ordinance. Trees on city property can be exempt as well. In a subdivision, the Homeowner’s Association may apply pressure to the tree owner if the tree’s dimensions violate its covenants, conditions, and restrictions. The HOA can take away privileges to public areas and even sue the tree owner. It is important to realize that most HOAs want to avoid litigation. While these are some of the possibilities available to homeowners, it is ultimately in everyone’s best interest to resolve such matters out of court. If you do run into a stubborn neighbor, though, be sure to contact us.