Help! My Neighbor’s Tree is Obstructing My View

You had an unobstructed view of the San Francisco Bay from your living room window, your neighbor planted a tree, over the years the tree grew and now your view is gone.  What can you do about your view?

View-Blocking Trees and Property Value

In certain San Francisco neighborhoods, a home’s main selling points might be its expansive view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and San Francisco Bay.  What happens if your neighbor has a tree on their property that obstructs your view?  San Francisco has an ordinance that can address this issue.  The San Francisco Tree Dispute Ordinance outlines four steps which must be followed before filing a lawsuit.

What if My Neighbor Won’t Remove a Problem Tree?

The first step involves the party whose view is obstructed writing to the tree owner about their concerns.  If possible, the letter writer should also try and talk with the tree owner to reach a resolution about the obstruction.  If this step is not successful, the next step involves proposing a mediation with the Community Boards of San Francisco to try and resolve the view issue.  If this step does not work, then the complaining party must prepare a ‘tree claim.”

How Can I Take Legal Action About a Tree Blocking My View?

“A tree claim” should state the nature of the problem tree, when the problem started, provide pictures that the tree was not a problem for the entire time of the complaining party lived in their home, steps that the complaining party took to remedy the situation with the tree owner, the failure of communications between the complaining party and the tree owner to resolve the issue and other requirements.  Once the tree claim is prepared, a lawsuit may then be filed in San Francisco Superior Court.


Know your rights.  Protect yourself. 

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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Real Estate Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Mary Catherine Wiederhold
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