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Ask the Resident Builder: Can my neighbor prevent me from building a playhouse?

Does a playhouse need a permit?Question: I was recently building a children's playhouse and began to put the walls up. As I did, the neighbor who lives behind me came over and said that we were blocking her view. The view she has is of the back of our house. The playhouse would be approximately 8 to 9 inches above her 9-foot fence. She said she was going to find out if she could stop us from building it. Is this possible from a legal standpoint? Thanks, Marcus

Answer: From Pardon Our Dust's "resident builder" Alon Toker:

It depends on what exactly is being constructed. Is it built to function like a treehouse or a kid's playhouse? Or is it built as a permanent structure that could be used as a spare bedroom or office?

If the former, this is not a building-and-safety, planning or zoning issue and the city is likely to stay out of it. If it's the latter, however, plans and permits would be needed as well as inspections, and if these were not secured, the neighbor might have unwelcome leverage.

The noted 9-foot fence, by the way, might be counter-leverage that works to your advantage, as it too might not be legal. The typical maximum fence height allowed is 6 feet.

To read for yourself what the City of Los Angeles building code says about accessory buildings, pergolas, retaining walls, excavation in cemeteries and more, click here.

Alon Toker is president of Mega Builders in Chatsworth.

(Photo: Playhouses.com)

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