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‘Absolutely livid’: Viral TikTok raises question about rights to views

·2-min read
Screenshot of TikTok video showing Empire State Building, stock image shows woman looking out of large windows at city.
Can you own the right to a view? That's the question a viral TikTok is posing. (Images: TikTok, Getty).

The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, but one New Yorker has lost sight of the building in a painful way.

TikTok user @katekosaya used to enjoy unrestricted views of the New York landmark, but in a now-viral video showed how easy it is to have those property perks taken away by other skyscrapers.

“When your personal Empire State Building view goes away but your rent goes up,” she said in the post also captioned: “Only in New York City.”

People in the comments shared her frustration.

“I’d be absolutely livid,” one person said.

“That should be illegal,” added another.

However, others found her situation amusing, and suggested she should have checked the building development plans before moving in.

“Funny thing is these luxury apartments blocked everyone else, now they’re getting blocked too,” one person said.

“And behind you, someone was complaining that your building was blocking their view,” another follower said.

Others still said that if she owned the apartment, she should have taken out view insurance, or sued for view blockage.

What are your rights in Australia if someone blocks your view?

If you have a sweeping ocean view but a neighbour buys the land in front of yours and builds a multi-story development, your rights are limited.

That’s because under Australian law, you can’t own a view.

However, there are some things you can do.

In 2017, one Queensland couple took the extraordinary step of buying the air rights above their neighbours’ properties to ensure that no one could block their view.

“There’s views from every level of the house,” owner Gill Nadler said at the time.

“I think a view not only adds to the aesthetic value of the property but it certainly increases the price you pay for the property.”

When you’re buying a house, the seller is legally required to tell you if there are any plans that could impeded upon the home’s view and future value, such as neighbouring developments.

It’s also a good idea to make enquiries with the local council before buying about any proposed developments, and see if anyone has lodged an application.

If your view is going to be affected, you can object to the proposed development.

However, it’s unlikely a lost view will be enough to stop a development, with local authorities more inclined to pause developments due to neighbours losing too much sunlight.

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