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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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We have a neighbor who ten years ago planted a hedge row of

Customer Question

We have a neighbor who ten years ago planted a hedge row of Leyland Cyprus trees to create a boundary between our properties and also to provide additional privacy for their home. The trees are approximately 15+ feet tall and provide the privacy he had envisioned when he planted them. We have trimmed the trees on occasion to maintain that height. However, our concern is that if our neighbor no longer permits us to continue trimming, the trees will block our westward view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. We are wondering if his preventing us from trimming them and thereby losing our view constitutes a "spite fence."
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation. Unfortunately, with trees there is not a great deal of protection (statewide) for property owners regarding views. (See this link for information on basic WA State tree law, as well as information on how to find local ordinances that may help you: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/homeowners-right-views-29942.html).

If you are unable to find local ordinances (there aren't a lot of jurisdictions in WA that do have them, the above link does give you a good resource to help find most, but you may need to speak with a local attorney (some of these local ordinances are too specialized/localized for us to find for customers (we are dealing with all 50 states, plus Federal law and individual city/county ordinances are often unpublished online, not updated, or difficult to navigate without a costly subscription service, a local attorney will have this information, you can also find it yourself in your local law library), you can try one of the remedies noted in the article.

You can also try mediation. Mediation is the use of a third party neutral (such as an attorney or a retired judge) to help you reach a "mutually agreeable resolution" regarding the trees. You can contact your local bar association and ask for referrals to local mediators, then contact one or two of these referrals and ask them to set up a mediation for you. Many mediators are successful in helping you to reach a successful resolution, even if you are at an impasse in direct negotiations.

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