ARTICLES & NEWS

EASEMENT & OTHER NEIGHBOR DISPUTES ARTICLES

tree roots

Damage to Sewer Line from Neighbor’s Tree

By Christopher Combs | July 19, 2020

Question: We live in Ahwatukee. Our neighbor has a large ficus tree whose roots have grown into our sewer line, and have cost us $6,000 for repairs. Can we require our neighbor to reimburse us $6,000 for the cost to repair the damage to our sewer line? Can we cut the roots of the ficus tree that trespass on our property? Answer: First, your neighbor should be required to reimburse you for the $6,000 cost to repair your sewer line. Second, you are entitled to cut the roots of the ficus tree that trespass on your property. Under Arizona law,…

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hillside view

Deed Restriction to Protect Hillside View

By Christopher Combs | May 10, 2020

Question: Our Estrella Mountain home was one of the first homes sold in our development. The lot behind us has still not sold. If a home is built on this lot, our beautiful hillside view will be spoiled.  Our thought is that we would contact the developer for an agreement to limit to one-story any home built on this lot. Can we pay the developer some amount of money to limit this lot to one-story homes? How long could the time period be? Answer: You could pay the developer for a recorded deed restriction to get a view easement over…

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clothing optional

Deed Restriction With “Clothing Optional” Neighbor Could Be Recorded

By Christopher Combs | April 19, 2020

Question: My lady friend and I live in one of the older Phoenix subdivisions. Custom homes, large yards, mature vegetation, very quiet and peaceful. My neighbors are generally elderly people. During the summer I rarely see them outside their homes, which adds to the privacy we enjoy. Bottom line, the pool parties we host are “clothing optional.” Nothing lewd, just a group of naked adults enjoying life, lounging in the pool, playing lawn volleyball or badminton covered “only by the sky.” Younger neighbors will eventually buy the nearby homes, however, and they may object if they or their children peek…

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neighborhood plans

Amendment of CC&Rs to Prohibit Short-Term Rentals

By Christopher Combs | April 12, 2020

Question: In last week’s column you said that 51% of the neighbors in a Phoenix neighborhood could not agree to prohibit short-term rentals in their neighborhood. This Phoenix neighborhood had no CC&Rs. Therefore, many readers of your column might think that their Phoenix neighborhood cannot prohibit short-term rentals. In fact, most Phoenix neighborhoods have CC&Rs which can be amended by the homeowners to prohibit short-term rentals. The voting requirement to amend the CC&Rs can be as low as 51% of the homeowners. Our Phoenix neighborhood has CC&Rs that allow amendments by 51% of the homeowners, and we recently amended our…

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trashed house

Simple Deed Restrictions Can Limit Short-Term Rentals

By Christopher Combs | April 5, 2020

Question: Our Gilbert community of 60 homes was built by the developer in 1969. We are having problems with a short-term rental in our community. In this short-term rental the tenants are moving in and out almost every day, parking in the wrong areas, and trashing our swimming pool. A group of our neighbors wanted to amend our CC&Rs to prohibit short-term rentals of less than 30 days. We learned, however, that there have never been any CC&Rs for our community. Our understanding now is that 51% of the 60 homes in our community would be able to sign new…

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handshake deal

Documentation Necessary if Building Home with Next-Door Neighbor

By Christopher Combs | March 29, 2020

Question: My next-door neighbor has a construction background. I can get construction financing. We want to buy an old home in downtown Glendale, and do a “scrape and build,” i.e., tear the old home down and build a new home. My next-door neighbor is fine with a “handshake” deal. In other words, everything would be in my name to get the construction financing and we would split the profits after we sell the new home. What are your thoughts? Answer: Not good thoughts! In every business relationship, and especially in a business relationship with a neighbor or a family member,…

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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.…

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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…

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