Homeowner sues neighbor over a dispute between two neighbors in a common interest community over the construction of a pool house by one of the neighbors that the other neighbor contended interfered with the view from the neighboring property. The neighbors who contended the pool house interfered with their view contended that the construction of the pool house constituted a breach of the governing documents for the homeowners association and also that it constituted a private nuisance by unreasonably interfering with the enjoyment of their property and thereby causing a reduction in their propertys value. The neighbors claiming to have been damaged by construction of the pool house brought suit against both the neighbors who were constructing the pool house and their homeowners association for wrongfully approving the construction of the pool house.
The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the association and the neighbors who were constructing the pool house after concluding that the construction of the pool house did not violate any of the associations governing documents and that the conduct did not constitute a nuisance because there was no unlawful act committed. Dissatisfied with the district courts judgment, the plaintiffs appealed the decision.
The appellate court found that the construction of the pool house did not violate the associations restrictive covenants so neither the association or the neighbors could be liable for breach of contract. With regard to the plaintiffs nuisance claim, the appellate court ruled that, absent a statute or contract to the contrary, the obstruction of a landowners view is not actionable and thus, the construction of a lawful building could not be complained of as a private nuisance because it obstructs the view from a neighboring property. In upholding the district courts judgment, the appellate court found that the plaintiffs did not have a cognizable right to an unobstructed view from their property. Thus, as a matter of law, the construction of an otherwise legal pool house could not have unreasonably interfered with the plaintiffs use and enjoyment of their property.
North Dakota Supreme Courtstate decision (December 7, 2017)
See case decision: Ceynar_v._Barth