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Can my neighbor legally block my view from my home?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

The view from your property can have a major impact on your enjoyment of your home and also on its overall resale value. If you can see the ocean from your second-story windows, you may be able to command a premium price when you sell the home later.

Unfortunately, all it takes is one problematic neighbor to affect your enjoyment of the property and your view. Your neighbor might plant massive trees that eventually grow to block your view. They could also start building something, like an addition to their home, that would block your view and have a damaging effect on your property value.

What are some of the ways that you can protect yourself from the loss of your view and of home value as a result?

Obtain an easement

If you are on good terms with your neighbor, they may be happy to accept financial compensation to protect your view. They can grant you an easement now that will prevent them or any future owners from making changes to the property that obstruct your view. Of course, an easement will not help if someone has already built or grown an obstruction affecting your view currently.

Explore trimming the trees

Sometimes, the removal of a few branches would be sufficient to give you the same view you once enjoyed. In some cases, you may be able to trim branches that hang over your property. You could also file a complaint to compel the trimming of tree branches on your neighbor’s side of the property line. In these situations, you will usually have to pay for the forestry professionals who come out to provide the service.

Look into and enforce local ordinances

In some municipalities, there are view ordinances. Communities can adopt rules that protect the rights of the people who live there to maintain a view. These rules may limit the height of trees and the placement and overall height of buildings. If your neighbor constructed a property that you believe violates a view ordinance or other local construction rules, you may be able to take them to court.

Although your view may be invaluable to you, if you don’t take steps to protect it now, you may not actually have a legal right to that view when things change in the future. Learning more about Massachusetts property and land use laws will help you assert yourself in a conflict with your neighbor about what you can see from your home.