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Category: Bankruptcy Law
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Experience:  14 years exp., CH 7 AND 13 Bankruptcy cases, AFL-CIO UNION PLUS, UFT NYSID AND ALL MAJOR UNIONS
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What is the law regarding trimming your neighbors tree trunks

Resolved Question:

What is the law regarding trimming your neighbors tree trunks and branches growing over the fence line, obstructing my view. I live in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles County.

thank you, Lonnie
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  WALLSTREETESQ replied 7 years ago.
you may cut tree limbs and remove roots from your neighbor's tree where they cross over the property line, you cannot do so if it will damage the continued viability of his tree.

In California, there is no right to view/sunshine/ air circulation, unless a local ordinance has been passed. Several Bay Area cities have various local ordinances.


A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered singer Madonna to trim her driveway hedges to eight feet in height and to trim a pine tree down to her roof level--and to pay the legal fees of the neighbor who brought the lawsuit against her. The neighbor contended that the untrimmed foliage blocked his Hollywood Hills view of the city lights below and reduced the value of his property.

He was able to prevail because he had a long-standing written agreement with her regarding his view, so he simply went to court to enforce that contract."

Unless you live in a community that has a view ordinance, you are unlikely to get relief in the courts without such a contract.

If your city does not have a view ordinance, you can still ask a court to have the offending fence or tree removed if you can show that by erecting or planting it, your neighbor was deliberately and maliciously trying to block your view. This would fall under the category of "spite fences," a good lawyer who can litigate this is needed and will be expensive.
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