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Real Estate Blog

Does my Neighbor Own Part of my Backyard?

By Christopher Combs | April 2, 2018

Question: Two weeks after we purchased our home in Chandler, we were told by our neighbor that our neighbor’s swimming pool and fence extend five feet into our backyard. Our neighbor’s building permit shows that the swimming pool and fence were built 12 years ago. Does our neighbor now own this five feet of our backyard? Answer: Probably. Under the law of adverse possession, after ten years a landowner generally loses ownership of land that has been enclosed by a neighbor’s fence, unless the landowner gave the neighbor permission to use the enclosed land. The reasoning behind the law of adverse…


Flooding of Creek Doesn’t Change Boundary Line

By Christopher Combs | March 12, 2018

Question: We own a summer home near Greer in the White Mountains. The legal description for the boundary between our home and our neighbor’s home to the east has always been a creek. Monsoon rains and massive flooding last summer caused the creek to jump its banks and move 30 feet to the east where the creek now flows. Do we now own this additional 30 feet of land between the old creek bed and the new location of the creek? Answer: Probably not. If there is a change in the location of a creek (or other watercourse) used as a…

Overhanging Branches

Who is Responsible for Overhanging Branches?

By Christopher Combs | March 5, 2018

Question: We have owned a home in the Arcadia area of Phoenix for over 20 years. Roof rats have been a constant problem. Citrus trees are both a food source for the roof rats and a vehicle for their access to the roof. The branches of our neighbor’s orange trees hang over our block wall. Although our neighbor says that we can trim the branches, our neighbor says that he will not pay for the cost of the trimming. Can we pay for the cost of the trimming, and then sue our neighbor in Justice Court for reimbursement? Answer: No. In…


Is Disclosure of Partying Neighbors Required?

By Christopher Combs | January 14, 2018

Question:  We have lived in our Goodyear home for more than 20 years. We never had any problems with our neighbors. Last year a young couple moved in next door. Every weekend there are parties, and I think that drugs are involved. We have listed our home for sale because we want to move into a smaller home now that our children are grown. Our listing agent said that we have to disclose to buyers any material and adverse fact regarding our home. Do we have to disclose these new neighbors? Our son is a lawyer in Los Angeles, and…


An HOA Without Dog Breed Restrictions Can Still Demand Removal

By Christopher Combs | August 24, 2017

An HOA Without Dog Breed Restrictions Can Still Demand Removal of Aggressive Pitbull   Question: One of the neighbors in our South Scottsdale community has a Pitbull that has severely bitten two other dogs in our community. The CC&Rs generally require that the neighbors live in harmony with one another, and also require that dogs and other pets be controlled. The neighbor has paid the fines imposed by the HOA for violating the CC&Rs, but the neighbor still walks the Pitbull around our community. I am afraid to go outside with our French Bulldog without my husband also going with me. Is…


Oleanders Poisonous to Animals May Support a Nuisance Claim

By Christopher Combs | August 14, 2017

Oleanders Poisonous to Animals May Support a Nuisance Claim   Question: We have lived in Gilbert on a five-acre lot for more than 20 years, and we have always had goats and chickens in our backyard. A new neighbor has planted oleanders on his side of the property line between our homes. We do not have the money to build a block wall to protect our home. We have explained to our new neighbor that oleanders are poisonous, and that our goats and chickens could die. We offered to pay for the cost of removing the oleanders and for the cost…


Jury Trial Only, Unless Parties Agree to Judge Trial

By Christopher Combs | June 18, 2017

Jury Trial Only, Unless Parties Agree to Judge Trial   Question:  We have lived in our Casa Grande home for 13 years. Last year our neighbor said that our driveway is on his property, and that he intended to remove our driveway and build a barn there. We then filed a quiet title lawsuit that we owned the driveway.  A jury trial has now been scheduled. Our neighbor wants a jury trial. We don’t think a jury trial will be helpful to us, and will be much more expensive. We want a trial to a judge without a jury. How…


Both Neighbors Responsible for Common Fence

By Christopher Combs | May 21, 2017

Both Neighbors Responsible for Common Fence   Question:  My husband and I purchased a home in Prescott. Our backyard wood fence was very dilapidated and starting to fall down. Our neighbor refused to do anything. We have now paid to replace the dilapidated wood fence with a block wall. Does our neighbor have to share in the cost of this block wall?   Answer:  The general rule is that both neighbors are responsible for the maintenance of a common fence. Therefore, if replacement of the dilapidated wood fence was required, your neighbor should pay to you one-half of the cost.…