Advice, negotiation, mediation, arbitration & court proceedings for all property problems
- by experienced San Diego attorneys
Property problems concerning access to property, obstructed views, and boundary lines can be among the most trying issues to deal with. Whether you are a homeowner or have the right to use another’s property, San Diego Law Firm can skillfully handle these and any other property issues you may be facing.
Access to property
San Diego Law Firm’s experienced attorneys will handle your access dispute if you are seeking to exclude neighbors, the public, or the government from entering or using your property. We will also assist you if instead you have your own rights to access another’s property but are being denied entry. This right to access or use someone else’s property is known as an “easement,” and can be created in several different ways, even without an agreement. We will evaluate whether any access rights have been created in your case, such as in the following common situations:
- Road access. A homeowner may claim a right to road access going through a neighbor’s property, or alternatively, a neighbor may claim a right through the homeowner’s property. If this right exists, it is created informally under the law when travel through the property is absolutely necessary for accessing another property (this is an “easement by necessity”). We will help you resolve your dispute, whether you are being denied road access and need to enforce an easement, or if your neighbor is overusing an easement that runs through your property. At times, an easement by necessity may even be terminated.
- Public use of property. Public use of a homeowner’s property for long-established access to another property can sometimes create an “easement by prescription.” We will evaluate whether this right exists and assist you with the dispute. If an easement has not yet been created, we will advise you about what steps you need to take to protect your property rights, as timing is critical.
- Government and utility rights. The government may be able to limit your use of your property and deny you a permit for your fence or construction plans, and can tear down any unauthorized construction. You also can’t interfere with public roads, or you may face fines and lose the structure you built that crosses into the road. Additionally, the government and utilities may have rights to use your property. Even so, we may be able to help prevent the government or utility company from using your land when its actions go beyond what the law allows.
Preservation of views
San Diego Law Firm can advise and assist on all problems involving your views through a neighbor’s property. We will help you protect your view, whether through gaining your neighbor’s cooperation or, when necessary, by enforcing your rights in court. Some of the most common view problems we can help you with include:
- Tree height or buildings blocking views. Your view may be protected by a Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions agreement (CC&R’s) with your homeowner’s association. These often restrict one homeowner from blocking another’s view with trees, other landscaping, or decks and other additions. Also, if you have installed solar panels, you may be able to prevent shade from your neighbor trees from blocking sun to the panels.
- Unsightly uses of property. A homeowner’s association may also have rules for maintaining landscaping, satellite dish restrictions, trash can storage, RV parking prohibitions, keeping garages orderly, prohibit clothing lines, and other restrictions that protect your view.
- Zoning limits on a property’s height or use. Obstructions to your view may also be zoning violations. We will review local regulations, which can control building height, limit how many structures can be built on the property, regulate landscaping in some neighborhoods, and may even prevent older homes from being changed.
- Special restrictions affecting homes near the coast. Additional protection can come from California’s coastal law, which regulates buildings on private property that block views to the beach.
Boundary line issues
San Diego Law Firm can advise and help you with all boundary line problems and problems with neighbors using your land. We understand that as a property owner you want to safeguard your rights while seeking to maintain a peaceful relationship with your neighbor, and we work with that goal in mind. Common sources of boundary disputes with which we can assist you on include the following:
- Fences that cross boundary lines. Neighboring fences and walls that cross property lines can sometimes cause you to lose your ownership of part of your land if you do not act quickly enough. This is known as “adverse possession,” and results only when California’s legal and property tax requirements are strictly met.
We will take the appropriate steps to protect your property rights and have a survey done of your property’s boundaries. Using the survey, we can send a polite but clear letter asking your neighbor to move the fence, or, if necessary, seek a court order to require them to move their fence.
If you and your neighbor have agreed on a boundary line, we can advise you as to whether that agreement can be enforced against that neighbor or future owners of the same neighbor’s property.
In rare situations, a court may permit a fence to remain but compensate you for your loss of use, or may find that the neighbor has the right to continue using your land without compensation if the fence has been there many years and the neighbor has been paying property taxes on the area enclosed by the fence. We can advise you as to what is most likely to happen in your situation.
- Part of neighbor’s building is on your property. Neighbors sometimes build a shed, garage, home addition, or other building partly on property that belongs to another neighbor. This may have happened because the neighbor at fault did not have the property surveyed. It is important that you take action as soon as possible to prevent the neighbor from acquiring ownership or a right to use that part of your property.
We will help you get your land surveyed and and seek the solution that is best suited to your interests. Your options here include seeking to asking the court to order the neighbor to remove the building from your portion of the land, or you may choose to allow paid use of your land, in which case we will prepare the appropriate documents.
- Access to property. Common examples here are problems with shared driveways, private roads, and paths or roads going through property owned by another person. If someone is crossing your land to reach their property, San Diego Law Firm can review the deeds and a land survey and advise you on how to proceed. If the only way the neighbor can access their land is to go across yours, they may have a limited right to use a portion of your land as a road or driveway. If they can access their property by another means, or if they are abusing their limited right of use, we can advise you on the best way to prevent or limit access. If, on the other hand, you are the person being denied access to your land, we can help you resolve the problem in the same manner.
- Driveways. As with fences, neighbors parking over the property line of a common driveway can lead to claims of ownership through adverse possession or of the right to use it due to necessity.
- Landscaping. Frequent problems here are fallen tree branches, tree roots, fallen leaves or fruit, plants, and shrubs that cross (or “encroach” on) your property line. Some of these encroachments are more than just bothersome and can damage your property. We can advise you on whether your neighbor can be held responsible for removal of the intruding object. If you plan to remove encroaching tree roots, we can help you make sure you handle the removal properly so you can avoid becoming liable to your neighbor. We will advise you on your legal claims and work towards reaching favorable resolution.
- Trespassing. If there is repeated trespassing by your neighbors or their guests onto your property, we will help you resolve the dispute and advise you on preventing an easement by prescription that would limit your use of the property.
Benefits to our clients
We are committed to keeping our clients fully informed and offering them the guidance and support they need to make good choices between different legal alternatives. San Diego Law Firm will ensure that all of your legal matters are supervised by a seasoned senior partner who will act as your Personal Legal Representative and oversee your legal affairs, even if another attorney is performing a particular service for you. For as long as we represent you, you will receive the same dedication and quality of service that brought you to us in the first place.