On first reading it appeared that American billionaire Larry Ellison had simply bought the neighbours house with whom he was in the middle of a dispute. However, the dispute was over a view he had over San Francisco Bay which in his opinion had been interfered with by trees owned by neighbours downhill from him. So he bought the house next door which had an unobstructed view at a cost of $40 million. He had previously offered $15 million to buy the house of his neighbours with the problem trees but they had turned down his offer.
It seems however, that after spending the $40m on the house next door the dispute with the other neighbours was settled with the trees being trimmed.
Unfortunately, in the present economic climate selling your house and moving away from the problem has become more difficult. In a buoyant market where sales are achieved quickly and there is equity to be had people are much more likely to move away. However, in my experience this has not led to an increase in disputes arising as people stay and fight out issues. My view on this is because people feel it is more difficult to move away they feel less inclined to get into disputes with neighbours. These types of disputes are very often referred to as worse than divorce for this very reason; you have to keep living with the people next to you day after day.
I therefore tend to advise my clients in detail, not only on the merits of their claims, but the practical implications in the long term of pursuing them. This means that try to come to a reasonable settlement of a dispute in an amicable manner is usually the first thing to do and only as a last resort should court proceedings be threatened and pursued.
It would make life much easier if all my clients had the money to just buy their neighbours houses to resolve their disputes.