Sun, Air and View Easements
A light, air and view easement is a negative easement created by grant that prevents an adjacent landowner from building a structure or planting trees that would prevent sunlight or air from reaching the dominant estate. In California, no landowner has an absolute right to sunlight and air circulation or to a view over adjoining lands.
In Ekstrom v. Marquesa at Monarch Beach Homeowners Association, 168 Cal.App.4th (2008), Ekstrom sued the HOA to force a trimming and removal of palm trees obstructing his views. Ekstrom's downhill neighbor had 20 palm trees growing and the CC&Rs read that no palm trees could exceed the height of rooftops. The court subsequently held that the HOA must remove or trim down all trees including palm trees that blocked the owner's view.
Solar Panel Easements
Homeowners are widely installing solar panels on rooftops, building exteriors and more. California follows the first in time rule where the item first in time may remain. A tree owner must keep his/her trees from casting a shadow greater than 10% of the absorption area if the solar panels were there first.
California Civil Code provides that solar easements must be in writing in order to be valid. The description must be in measurable terms with restrictions placed on vegetation, structures and the like to be outlined in addition to the terms or conditions for it termination.
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