Protect Your View With A View Easement / View Covenant
Posted May 17, 2017
By Washington State Real Estate Law Lawyer William O. Kessler
If you own real estate in the greater Seattle area, you may have view of Puget Sound, Lake Washington, another lake, or even a valley view. Either way, if you have a view, you likely want to protect it for your own enjoyment, and to preserve your property’s market value. Whether or not your view is already blocked, you may find yourself asking two main questions:
1. Can I make my neighbor cut his trees?
2. Can I prevent my neighbor from building higher?
Unless you have a recorded View Easement (aka View Covenant), your neighbor has no obligation to cut trees in most cases, and can build as high as zoning laws allow. A View Easement is a document recorded against Property X in favor of adjacent Property Z, where the owner of Property X agrees no buildings or vegetation on X will exceed a certain height. This preserves Z’s view. Z typically purchases the View Easement, either with cash or some other consideration (for example, a boundary line adjustment in favor of X). Ideally, the height is (a) a fixed point or range of points in the air legally described by a surveyor, and (b) easily able to be located at any point in the future by any other surveyor.
It is important View Easements be drafted properly. Imprecisely-drafted View Easements are a frequent source of expensive and needless litigation between neighbors. Such litigation can be avoided easily and at relatively low cost with proper drafting and recording. If you are interested in a View Easement / View Covenant, please call William O. Kessler or one of the other real estate attorneys at Beresford Booth PLLC.
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