FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – March 16, 2017 – Question: We live in a condo with a beautiful waterfront view, but the management company just put up a "Do not feed the wildlife" warning sign that partially obscures our view. We're concerned this will hurt the resale value. What can we do? – Jack
Answer: Generally, you don't have a legally protected right to the view from your home. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. The first thing to consider is whether your association had a reasonable excuse for obstructing your view. It has been found, for example, that planting trees that may block a homeowner's view was reasonable, but putting up a billboard was not. Putting up a sign with a wildlife warning seems reasonable.
You also should review your association documents to see if they contain any restrictions about blocking a unit owner's view. While this is not a standard feature in condo documents, some have such restrictions, especially when the view was a major selling point for the condo. In a similar vein, check to see if your city has any ordinances concerning homeowners' views.
Finally, speak with the board members to see if they would be willing to move the sign. While the sign still needs to be visible to protect people in the community, maybe there's another spot that wouldn't block views.
About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.
© 2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.