Private Condemnation and Landlocked Parcels

By Christopher Combs | January 15, 2023

Question: My brother and I recently inherited from our parents a 20-acre parcel of land (“20 Acres”) in the Prescott Valley area of Yavapai County. Our parents bought this 20 Acres back in the 1970s from Ned Warren, the “King of Land Fraud.” This 20 Acres has no legal access to a public highway. Although my brother and I have visited this 20 Acres several times over the years, on our last visit the dirt road that we had always used for access to the 20 Acres was blocked by a home on a 5-acre lot. We want to sell…


Encroaching Storage Shed Should Not Have to Be Torn Down

By Christopher Combs | December 25, 2022

Question: After we purchased our home in Litchfield Park last summer, we built a large and expensive storage shed in our backyard. We recently received a letter from the owner of the neighboring lot that, in preparation for the building of his new home, a survey has shown that our storage shed encroaches one foot into his backyard. The owner of this neighboring lot is now demanding that we tear down our storage shed. Will we have to tear down our storage shed? Answer: The test is one of reasonableness. For example, if a survey shows that a 30-story Phoenix…


Homeowner Must Prevent Tree Damage to Neighbor’s Home

By Christopher Combs | January 30, 2022

Question: Our Chandler neighbor has two large eucalyptus trees in his back yard. Especially in the monsoon season, these trees shed a large number of seeds and leaves, and occasionally a branch, into our swimming pool and back yard. The owner of this Chandler home lives in Chicago and does short-term rentals of the home. He has refused to do anything, and now won’t even respond to our emails. How can we prevent future damage to our swimming pool, our back yard, and even to our home, caused by the seeds, leaves, and branches from these two eucalyptus trees? Answer:…


Short-Term Rental Would Not Be ‘Grandfathered’

By Christopher Combs | December 26, 2021

Question: We have owned our Gilbert home for 30 years. In the last 2 years we have been the unfortunate neighbors of a short-term rental home. This short-term rental home has been a nightmare with parties every night, police being called, etc. If our community amends our CC&Rs to prohibit short-term rentals, is the neighboring short-term rental home “grandfathered” or will the short-term rentals have to stop? If the short-term rental home is not stopped, we want to sell our home. Will we have to disclose this short-term rental home? Answer: First, if the CC&Rs are amended to prohibit short-term…


Easement Limited To Reasonable Use

By Christopher Combs | March 28, 2021

Question: We own a large home adjacent to a county highway in Pinal County. Our neighbor owns a 5-acre lot which is “landlocked” except for an easement over our land to the county highway. Our neighbor has now purchased 20 acres of land adjacent to his 5-acre lot, and wants to build a 40-home subdivision on the total of 25 acres of land. We are concerned that, instead of one neighbor driving to the county highway over our land, we will now have 40 homeowners and their friends driving over our land. Is our neighbor entitled to expand his use…

Property fence

Encroachment On Neighbor’s Land

By Christopher Combs | January 17, 2021

Question: We have owned a home in Cave Creek since 2014. The owner of the lot to the west is building a home on his lot. This owner hired a surveyor, and the survey showed that our west wall is not on the boundary line, but is located three feet away from the boundary line on our neighbor’s side. We do not want to pay for the cost to move our west wall to the boundary line, and we have agreed to sign a quit claim deed to our neighbor for this three-foot strip of land. We now believe that…

Pool Deck

CC&Rs Must Be Followed Regarding Neighbor’s Pool Deck

By Christopher Combs | January 3, 2021

Question: We have owned a home in Chandler for over eight years. Our neighbor recently built a large wooden pool deck next to his swimming pool only five feet from our property line. We were in Colorado for most of the summer while this pool deck was being built. Our neighbors and their guests can now stand on this pool deck and look directly into our backyard. We never had any notice from the HOA or from the neighbor about the construction of this pool deck. Although we recently planted large ficus trees on our property line, this pool deck…

Access Road

Five-Acre Lot Cannot be Landlocked

By Christopher Combs | December 20, 2020

Question: We own a home on a five-acre lot in Coconino County. A California buyer has just purchased the five-acre lot to the east of us, and plans to build a large home. The California buyer is landlocked, however, and needs access over our property to get to the main road. Do we have to give the California buyer access to the main road? If so, can we get compensation from the California buyer for this access? Answer: The California buyer cannot be landlocked. This principle of law goes back to medieval England when the King wanted to be able…