Not all border wars make national headlines, but that doesn't make them any easier to resolve. It could be a tree that hangs over a neighbor's yard, or a fence built long-ago that isn't on the actual boundary line. Such property-related issues can turn normally friendly neighbors into bitter enemies. Before your property issue turns into war, consult Arizona property line and fence law for a solution.
Quick Look: Arizona Property Line and Fence Laws
This chart provides a summary of key Arizona laws relevant to property line and fence disputes.
|Proving Private Nuisance||A plaintiff must prove each of the following:
|Local Fence Regulations|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Fence and Property Line Law in Urban Arizona
A property line is the legal border between two pieces of land, and is often marked by a fence, trees, or bushes. Disputes arise when people have different opinions about the use or appearance of their shared or neighboring property. Although Arizona does not have laws specifically addressing residential fences and trees, the state takes a common law approach to resolving many issues. Unfortunately, this means that your border disagreement may need to be resolved in a court of law. It's also possible that your city or county has local rules that affect your dispute.
Living in a "No Fence" District
Fencing in much of rural Arizona is governed by a series of statutes pertaining to keeping livestock. A county can be designated a "No Fence" open-range district, which places liability for property damage by stray livestock on the livestock owner. Living in a No Fence district does not mean you cannot have a fence. The designation is about placing liability for damage on the proper party. So in a district that is not designated open range, damage from stray livestock is on the property owner.
Neighbors Share Responsibility for a Boundary Fence
Boundary fences are considered mutually owned, so both parties are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the fence. If the neighbor's dog destroys part of the fence, technically you'd both be responsible for the cost of repair. However, your neighbor would be liable for any damage the dog caused to your property. The shared nature of a boundary fence also means that no one neighbor can remove or modify an existing fence without the other neighbor's permission.
Can a Neighbor's Fence or Trees Block Your View?
The recognized rule in Arizona is that blocking or obstructing a landowner's view does not constitute a private nuisance without a statute or easement that says otherwise. So yes, your neighbor can block your view unless there is a view ordinance, zoning law, subdivision rule, or existing easements.
One exception is that the neighbor cannot deliberately block your view with a structure that has no use to your neighbor. In such a case, you could have the tree or fence removed as a private nuisance, but you must show substantial and unreasonable harm.
Trees Maintenance Along Property Lines
Swimming pools and shade trees are an effective way to stay cool in the Arizona heat. However, when a neighbor's shade tree starts dropping leaves into your pool, it can damage your pool. In Arizona, you can trim the branches of a neighbor's tree that hang over your property line as long as you do not kill the tree.
Arizona has one unusual twist on this rule: the neighbor owning the trees is generally not required to reimburse the neighboring homeowner for the cost of trimming the overhanging branches.
Get Legal Help with Your Property Line Dispute
It's all too easy for disagreements between neighbors to get blown out of proportion. What starts as a discussion over a shared fence or tree can turn into a test of wills. An experienced real estate attorney can evaluate your dispute from a neutral perspective and offer a strategy for resolution. If you're involved in a property dispute, consider calling an Arizona real estate attorney near you for help.
Contact a qualified attorney.