Can a neighbor who doesn’t own a boat build a double boathouse that obstructs our view of the cove main lake?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a neighbor who doesn’t own a boat build a double boathouse that obstructs our view of the cove main lake?

My fiance and I are under contract to purchase a home on lake Gaston. We are buying it without a real estate agent. We close in 11 days. The neighbor has repeatedly tried to purchase the property from the gentleman we are buying from. They have had disputes in the past the current owner would not sell him the property. The neighbor went as far as to offer 40k over whatever our bid was after we signed a contract to buy. His offer was again rejected because we already have a contract to buy. A week after he found out it was under contract he started construction of a double boathouse. All the other

piers boathouses in the cove are constructed close to the shoreline. He started his structure 2 feet beyond the end of our pier on his property effectively obstructing our view of the cove and main lake. There is no HOA in the subdivision. Is there any possible recourse to stop and/or modify the construction of his boathouse so that it doesn’t kill our view? He does not even own a boat.

Asked on August 20, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

His not owning a boat is irrelevant: unless he is violating local zoning in some way, he may build anything he likes on his property, whether or not it impacts the views of neighbors; that is an intrinsic risk of buying property for a view, when there is someone who owns land between you and the view. As long as he complies with local zoning, building, etc. laws, he can build anything he likes on his land, whether it is useful or not--i.e. he could build a stable for non-existant horses, a lighthouse to guide steamships that don't exist safe to shore, etc.

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