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ARTICLES & NEWS

EASEMENT & OTHER NEIGHBOR DISPUTES ARTICLES

Neighbor’s Garage Is Three Feet Over Property Line

By Christopher Combs | May 29, 2019

Question: We recently had our Casa Grande home surveyed to determine the property line between our home and our neighbor’s home. The survey shows that, when our neighbor expanded his one-car garage to a two-car garage a few years ago, a portion of the neighbor’s two-car garage encroached three feet onto our property. Can our neighbor now be required to tear down that portion of his two-car garage that encroaches three feet onto our property? Is there a time period for our neighbor to return the three feet of our property to us? Answer: The test is one of reasonableness…

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Landmark Ruling by Arizona Court of Appeals on Access Easements

By Christopher Combs | May 21, 2019

On May 7, our former clients Bogdan and Jolanta Dabrowski (“Dabrowskis”) won a major victory at the Court of Appeals! Their landlocked neighbor has to pay compensation to Dabrowskis for an easement, and Dabrowskis’ choice of the route over their property was the preferred route. A. Facts The Dabrowskis are Chicago residents who purchased after a foreclosure a second home in Cave Creek on a five-acre lot (“Lot A”). At that time the Dabrowskis’ neighbor David Bartlett (“Bartlett”) owned a vacant five-acre lot (“Lot B”). Bartlett later wanted to build a new home on Lot B. The location and size…

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Developer can get Easement to Landlocked Property

By Christopher Combs | May 6, 2019

Question: We own a lot with a mobile home in the Apache Junction area. Our next-door neighbor has always driven over our lot to the main highway. This neighbor has now sold his lot to a developer who intends to subdivide this lot for eight homes. We have never had a problem with our neighbor driving over our lot, but we don’t want eight homeowners and their relatives and friends to be able to drive over our lot to the main highway. Can we prevent the future eight homeowners from driving over our lot? Answer: Probably not. If there is…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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