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Horse Property Must Conform to Public Zoning and Private Restrictions

By Christopher Combs | February 15, 2019

Question: We purchased a home on five acres in North Phoenix. The seller owned horses, and had a small corral in one corner of the property. We had reviewed all of the title documents, including the CC&Rs, and there was no prohibition against horses. After moving into our home with our horses, however, we received complaints from one of our neighbors about our horses. Yesterday we received a notice from the City of Phoenix that the City zoning code prohibits horses in our community. If the CC&Rs in our community allow horses, how can the zoning for the City of Phoenix…


Is it Trespassing if a Surveyor is on my Land?

By Christopher Combs | August 16, 2018

Question: I own a five acre “mini-ranch” in western Maricopa County.  Although these five acres are vacant land now, I intend to build a home on these five acres next year.  Last week when I drove out to look at my five acres, I saw an individual walking all over my land.  When I asked this individual to stop trespassing on my land, he said that he had a right to trespass on my land because he was a registered surveyor.  Does a registered surveyor have a right to trespass on my land? If I build a home on my land…


Can I Ask Neighbor to Remove Tree Branch?

By Christopher Combs | August 6, 2018

Question: We live in the Prescott area. Our neighbor has a large Cottonwood tree in his backyard. One of the large branches has been struck by lightning, and during every wind storm we are concerned that this large branch will fall off on our roof. Our neighbor refuses to do anything because the large branch only hangs over his backyard. Can we still require our neighbor to remove this large branch? If this large branch falls off, and damages our roof, will our insurance company have to pay to repair our roof? Answer: If this large branch places your home in “imminent…

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…