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Tall trees cast long shadow on homeowner association rules

Homeowners in California who live in restricted residential areas may find themselves at odds with neighbors when accusations arise over perceptions in homeowner association rules. A prime example of this type of occurrence can be found in a case where neighborhood residents have taken legal action against other residents who are accused of allowing their trees to grow to excessive heights.

The residential property dispute, which is now a lawsuit, stems from language in the homeowner association covenant prohibiting residents from allowing trees to "unreasonably interfere with the view from other lots." According to court documents, the plaintiffs are accusing four defendants of allowing their trees to grow to heights that obstruct the view of the plaintiffs.

While the defendants have cut down some of the tall trees, they assert that it was because those trees were diseased. They dispute that the height of the trees is obstructive to the plaintiffs' views and further state that complying with the demands of the plaintiffs would be costly and possibly detrimental to the trees' health. The matter is scheduled to be heard at a bench trial, and attorneys for the defendants say the possibility of settling the matter beforehand is very low.

When a homeowner dispute accelerates to the point of possible litigation, related parties may wish to seek the counsel of an attorney experienced in matters of real estate law for guidance as well as the filing of formal complaints or answers. The attorney may be able to negotiate an agreeable settlement between the parties or, if necessary, argue the case on behalf of clients before a court of appropriate jurisdiction.

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