Statute of Limitations Regarding Liability of Sellers and Brokers

By Christopher Combs | November 29, 2020

Question: Your column recently discussed the liability of the seller for failure to disclose to the buyer that the City of Chandler had not approved the completion of the garage. In another column you discussed the liability of the seller and the real estate broker for failing to disclose to the buyer a leaky roof, or a high concentration of radon gas or land fissures in the neighborhood. If there is liability to the buyer in these scenarios, how long does a buyer have under the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against the seller or the real estate…


COVID-19 Addendum to Purchase Contract is Helpful

By Christopher Combs | November 22, 2020

Question: In your recent column the buyer of an expensive Carefree home no longer wanted to close escrow on the home because the COVID-19 crisis caused a change in the buyer’s financial circumstances. The buyer wanted to cancel the transaction and forfeit the $25,000 earnest money. Under the standard Arizona Association of Realtors (“AAR”) Purchase Contract, however, the seller had the right to either accept the $25,000 earnest money, or to release the $25,000 earnest money and sue the buyer for actual damages. The seller had released the $25,000 to the buyer and filed a lawsuit against the buyer for…

open land

Mortgage Lender Generally has the Right to Either Foreclose or Sue

By Christopher Combs | November 15, 2020

Question: We bought forty acres of land in Coconino County five years ago for $200,000. We made a $20,000 cash down payment, and the seller did seller carryback financing of $180,000, plus ten percent interest, all due in five years. Although the forty acres of land in Coconino County was to be part of a large development of homes, five years later the forty acres of land is basically worthless. We have tried several times to negotiate the balloon payment of $180,000 with the seller. The seller has refused to negotiate with us, and now has filed a lawsuit against…

rent invoice

Landlord Can Collect Only Six Years’ Rent on Mistake

By Christopher Combs | November 1, 2020

Question: For eight years we have rented space in a Glendale office building for our travel business. Our lease included three parking spaces at a cost of $50 a month per parking space. Our office manager has paid the monthly rent invoice from our landlord every month for eight years. Last week our landlord said that this monthly rent invoice was a mistake because the monthly invoice should have included another $50 for the third parking space. The “bottom line” is that the landlord says that we now owe $4,800 additional rent (96 months x $50 a month). Didn’t we…

Eviction Notice

Removal of “Unwanted Guest” From Rental Home

By Christopher Combs | October 25, 2020

Question: Last year we rented our Chandler rental home for one year to an employee in our business. His girlfriend was specifically listed on the lease as an “occupant.” The girlfriend’s sister later moved into our rental home without our knowledge. The one-year lease is now over, and our employee and his girlfriend have moved out of our rental home. The girlfriend’s sister is still there. She told us that that we have to give her thirty days’ notice and then go to court to evict her. This seems crazy when we didn’t even know that she was living there!…

small pool

Mediation and Arbitration, Not Litigation, Can Settle Many Disputes

By Christopher Combs | October 18, 2020

Question: At the time that we purchased our new Gilbert home six months ago, our landscaping plan provided for a swimming pool in the backyard. We now have the money to build the swimming pool. Due to an incorrect survey by our homebuilder, however, the boundary wall between our home and our neighbor’s home is in the wrong location. The boundary wall now has to be moved ten feet further into our backyard, and we can now only build a “large bathtub” in our backyard. Our homebuilder has refused to take any responsibility for the loss in value to our…

Internet purchase

Internet Purchase Forms Should Not Be Used

By Christopher Combs | September 27, 2020

Question: We live near Lake Pleasant. Our next-door neighbor is retiring, and he and his wife are moving back to California. They want to sell us their home without paying a commission to a real estate broker. Our plan is to buy their home as an investment property for short-term rentals because we are near several spring training baseball fields. Our next-door neighbor has filled out a purchase contract that he located on the internet. Is it ok to use this purchase contract? Answer: No. You should hire a local Realtor for a minimal commission who will use the Arizona…


Seller Can Reject Buyer’s Demand For Only Licensed Contractors

By Christopher Combs | September 20, 2020

Question: We are purchasing a home in North Phoenix using the Arizona Association of Realtors® Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract (“AAR Purchase Contract”). Our home inspector gave us a list of repairs that need to be done to the home. We then submitted a Buyer’s Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response (“BINSR”) with a list of repairs to the seller as provided in the AAR Purchase Contract, and requested that all these repairs be done by a licensed contractor. The seller’s listing agent said that under the AAR Purchase Contract the repairs only have to be done in a “workmanlike”…