service animal

Service Animal Protected Even if Growls at Children

By Christopher Combs | December 29, 2019

Question: We own a small eight-unit apartment complex in north Phoenix. The lease prohibits any pets more than 25 pounds. One of the tenants in this eight-unit apartment complex has a German shepherd. The tenant says that for health reasons he needs this German shepherd. He has a letter from a doctor stating that this German shepherd is a service (or “assistive”) animal to assist in the treatment of the tenant’s anxiety. The other tenants are complaining about this German shepherd who has growled at small children, but has never been aggressive. One tenant is even threatening to move out.…

No right unrestricted view

No Right to Unrestricted View Over Neighbor’s Property

By Christopher Combs | November 17, 2019

Question: We have lived in the same Phoenix neighborhood for more than twenty years. Our former neighbors always trimmed their oleander bushes and we had a nice view of North Mountain. Last year they sold their home to a California buyer who does short-term rentals of the home. The oleander bushes are no longer being trimmed, and our view has been restricted by the growing oleander bushes, and we are worried that in a few years we will have no view. Can we require this California buyer to trim the oleander bushes? Answer: Probably not. A homeowner does not have…

block wall damage

Repair of Common Block Wall by Neighbors

By Christopher Combs | September 22, 2019

Question: We share a common block wall with a neighbor in our Gilbert subdivision. The neighbor’s tree roots are cracking this common block wall and are intruding into the backyard near our swimming pool. We have written our HOA community manager but we have had no response. Can we demand that our neighbor repair our common block wall and remove the tree? Answer: You first should review the CC&Rs for your community. Although the CC&Rs probably state that the HOA has no obligation to get in the middle of a dispute between neighbors regarding common walls, you should have certain…


“Landlocked” Lot Has Right of Access

By Christopher Combs | September 15, 2019

Question: My parents bought a 5-acre lot near Prescott almost 40 years ago back in the “land fraud” days of the infamous Ned Warren. They have paid property taxes for years. Both parents died in the last year, and my sister and I have just inherited this 5-acre lot. We talked to a real estate broker in Prescott who said that the 5-acre lot might have some value, but the 5-acre lot is “landlocked” because the neighbors don’t want a home on that 5-acre lot that would obstruct their views. Therefore, he didn’t want the listing to sell the 5-acre…


Permission Will Prevent Future Adverse Possession Claim

By Christopher Combs | June 30, 2019

Question: We have an excellent relationship with our next-door neighbors. All of us even went to Glendale High School together years ago. Last week the husband came over to our house and said that, because they are widening their driveway, they would like to purchase a three-foot strip of our land. If we did not want to sell this three-foot strip of land, they would even be willing to rent this three-foot strip of land. Although we do not want to sell this three-foot strip of land or even take any rent money, we have no objection to our neighbors…


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…


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…


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…