Flagstone stairs

Neighbor Issues

In the area of boundary disputes, California caselaw is extensive and, in most cases, long-established. However, as recently as 1994 (with cases following precedent), rulings of the California Supreme Court changed the way that some common boundary disputes now must be decided. Notwithstanding recent decisions, this area remains complex. By helping my clients determine how their cases might be judged under the new law, they can decide how to approach their neighbors while protecting their own property rights.

Another wrinkle in boundary dispute cases can arise in situations where surveys are either erroneous or the earth has shifted from natural causes, resulting in misalignment of boundaries.

Easements present another problem area. There are many ways that easements can be created besides by a written instrument (grant of easement). Most laypersons, and even attorneys not specializing in this area, do not know how easements are created or governed by law. Particularly in urban and semi-urban neighborhoods, even relatively small easements can pose significant difficulties for adjoining neighbors. This is especially true in cases of shared driveways, for example. Where written grants of easement exist, the language may be ambiguous, leading to disputes about the nature and extent of an easement.

I represent clients in tree-cutting disputes that arise when existing trees or proposed buildings block views.

In cases involving neighbors, I always encourage my clients to attempt to resolve their disputes through mediation. However, if negotiation and mediation fail, I do not hesitate to litigate on their behalf.