In Seattle no views are protected, i.e – there are no rules that stop a neighbor from blocking another home’s view, or there is no option to buy “air-rights”. So view of a home, even though may be open now, can get blocked in future if a neighboring property goes up in height.
However, there are two things to be considered here for view protection in such situation.
a) What are current restrictions in the area, that will prevent (or reduce chances of) the neighboring property not increasing in height, and not blocking the view.
b) What can owners pro-actively do to protect views?
a) Current Restrictions: Though no view is protected, however there are rules around the maximum height of house in an area. So check zoning for a particular home/area, most residential areas limit height to around 30-40 ft. for Single Family Homes. One story is around 10 feet, so around three story home can be built.
b) Actions to protect view: Owners can get in some sort of agreement (deed) with the neighbors to put a height limit on their house. Owners will most likely have to pay something to the neighbors, and an attorney can help draw up a deed. This will be a sort of easement on neighbors property which will appear on the title.
Another way to protect view could be just buy the neighbors property, and never increase the height of house.
So overall, views are not protected and there are no straightforward ways to protect the views or buy air-rights, however there are some not-so good workarounds to still protect the view.
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