One of the key features of property in the Hollywood Hills are the incredible city and ocean views enjoyed from most of the lots. However, many property owners learn after closing that their views are not fully protected. The time to research a property’s view rights is before closing!
Rising Glenn Road in the Hollywood Hills is one of the areas that provides property owners with express view rights. The Turner Law Firm has successfully handled a number of view rights and neighbor disputes for property owners there. Many of these matters have involved developers and/or their attorneys who apparently either misread or ignored the CC&Rs.
Rising Glenn Road and portions of the connecting streets north of Sunset Plaza were developed as the “Beverly Highlands Homes Association.” The 1952 recorded Declarations of Restrictions (a/k/a CC&Rs) provide view rights by expressly limiting the height of homes and structures to 15′ or 16′ depending on the specific lot.
The properties subject to the Beverly Highlands Homes Association CC&Rs include the lots in these recorded maps: Tract 17290, 19543, 19229 (and possibly three other Tracts that we are researching with the title company.)
The CC&Rs provided that building plans were to be reviewed by the Association, but the Association was suspended as a corporation on April 2, 1972. A group attempted to revive the Association in 1989, but in 1999, its Board voted to dissolve it. In response, a separate group of homeowners called “Committee to Save the Beverly Highlands Homes Association” filed a lawsuit against the Board to enjoin the dissolution, Committee to Save the Beverly Highlands Homes Assn. v. Beverly Highlands Homes Assn. (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 1247. In a nutshell, the court rejected the Committee’s attempt to save the Association.
The court did state in dicta that even if the Association is dissolved, the property owners still can enforce the CC&Rs: “Article XVI of the Declaration gives the individual Beverly Highlands property owners the right to enforce the Declaration.” That provision states: “The provisions contained in the Declaration shall bind and inure to the benefit of and be enforceable by Declarant, the Association, or the owner or owners of any portion of said property, or their and each of their legal representatives, heirs, successors and assignees, and failure by Declarant, or by the Association, or by any other property owner, or their legal representatives, heirs, successors or assigns, to enforce any of such conditions, restrictions or charges herein contained shall in no event be deemed as a waiver of the right to do so hereafter.”
California law generally provides that CC&Rs can be directly enforced by individual property owners in the tract, unless the CC&Rs states otherwise. (See, Civil Code §5975, but that statute applies to CC&Rs for common interest developments that are subject to the Davis Striling Act. Many developments or tracts, particularly in the Hollywood Hills area and the Santa Monica Mountains, from Hollywood to Pacific Palisades, are not common interest developments, and thus not subject to the Davis Striling Act. The court in Committee to Save the Beverly Highlands Homes Assn. held that it was not common interest development: “Accordingly, we must conclude that the Beverly Highlands has no common area within the meaning of Civil Code section 1351, subdivision (b). Therefore, the Davis-Stirling Act does not apply to it.” Id., at 1271. The court has similarly held that the Mount Olympus tract and Cloverdale, Terraza, Stillwater, Weatherford Homeowners Association in Baldwin Hills are not common interest developments. See, Mount Olympus Property Owners Assn. v. Shpirt (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 885; Tract 19051 Homeowners Ass’n v. Kemp (2015) 60 Cal.4th 1135.)
If you live on or near Rising Glenn or are considering building there, the property may be subject to specific view rights and building limits that are still enforceable even though the Association was dissloved long ago. Like most real estate law issues, it best to consult with an experienced attorney before making any major development or land use decisions.
(The Turner Law Firm is one of the leading view rights law firms in California. It has handled hundreds of view rights cases and many more neighbor and land use disputes.)