If you are like most people in Ohio, your home is the center of your life. Unfortunately, from time to time, people encounter situations in which a neighbor impinges on a person’s ability to fully enjoy his or her own home. For example, perhaps you find yourself with a neighbor who has constructed a fence or something else on his or her property that blocks what had been a pleasant view from your own home. In such a case, you may wonder if you have any legal recourse.
General rule regarding a blocked view
Unfortunately, the general view in the United States is that a homeowner has the ability to construct a fence or anything else that is otherwise lawful and in accordance with zoning ordinances on his or her property. This is the case even if the fence or other structure impairs or even completely obliterates a view you previously enjoyed. This type of interference with the view from your home is known as a negative easement.
Exception to the general rule regarding a negative easement
There does exist an exception to the general rule blocking you from taking action if your neighbor impairs your view with a fence or something else. An exception to the general rule associated with negative easement exists if you can demonstrate your neighbor built the fence or other structure maliciously.
If you can prove that your neighbor built a fence or other structure with the specific intent to cause you annoyance or harm, you may be able to make a case against that neighbor. When your neighbor acts out of malice, spite, or some other improper motive, a court might determine that your rights have been violated because your neighbor has created a nuisance, and you have a case for civil litigation.
This type of case can be very complicated. As a consequence, a person in your position typically is best served seeking the assistance of experienced legal counsel.