It has huge emojis painted on it! What a great idea. I’m surprised that I haven’t heard of that particular form of expression being painted on a house before. The neighbors are angry, but based on the many similar situations I have written about, I think the emoji house owner is likely to win the argument over whether or not the city can tell her, no emojis on your house, just as she would if the city told the owner that she can’t paint her house purple.
I would have linked directly to the newspaper article, but the link in the blog where I saw this story didn’t work, so I’m just giving you the link to that blog.
The question is, what happens to a one-foot wide strip of property that remained in the ownership of the builder after construction of two attached houses on two lots on either side of the one-foot wide strip?
Pro tip: don’t buy the one-foot wide strip at the tax lien sale. Buyer beware.
NOW IT IS DEFINITELY A REGULAR SERIES: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I CAN’T PLANT VEGETABLES ON MY OWN PROPERTY (IN THE FRONT YARD)?
Lowering the Bar spotted this example of government trying to control what citizens can do on private property. I think I have heard of “no gardens in the front yard because they are unsightly” rules before, but as long as there are busybodies in a position to make rules, there will be rules that say you can’t [fill in the blank], no matter how innocuous [fill in the blank] is, on you own property.
MY JULY REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE IS ABOUT, YOU GUESSED IT, RULES GOVERNING WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY
Last time it was moving dirt and trees. This time it’s fixing cars. Next time it will be something else. The rule makers are relentless.
Read all about it in my new Real Estate Law Update for the month of July, posted in the publications section at DeconciniMcDonald.com. Let me know what you think.
This might become a regular series. Recently I wrote about California property owners who got into trouble for moving dirt and trees on their property because doing so violated a conservation easement. More recently I read about a municipal ordinance in California that prohibits automotive repairs and maintenance on residential property under certain conditions. That kind of government regulation is probably the most frequent cause to ask, “what do you mean, I can’t __________ [fill in the blank] on my own property?”
There are undoubtedly many situations where car repairs being done on residential property create a genuine nuisance to the neighbors. This recent California example, however, goes way too far, in my opinion. The ordinance recites several prohibited actions when repairing a car on residential property, including “using tools not normally found in a residence.” Does that mean I can’t install a lift in my garage? I know car enthusiasts who have done that. And how does anyone know with any certainty what constitutes a tool not normally found in a residence?
The city government that adopted this ordinance might have been sincerely attempting to address situations that are a material detriment to their community. I suspect that there may be neighborhoods where there are people running auto repair businesses in their home garage or driveway, but the city sure did try to squash a mosquito with a sledgehammer, and in the process squashed a lot of other things that don’t do any harm, don’t you think?
ONE NEWSWORTHY ITEM FROM THE ARIZONA LEGISLATURE’S RECENT SESSION CONCERNS RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS AND TENANTS
Now that the silly season, also known as the time when the Arizona legislature is in session, is over, we can begin to assess the good or harm done via the bills that the legislature passed and that the governor signed into law. The just-concluded session seems rather short on bills that will solve this or that monumental societal problem.
One bill signed by the governor that got some attention, but the impact of which may be narrower than it first appeared, changes the rules governing what residential landlords can and cannot do when third parties make partial rent payments on behalf of tenants. I told you it was a pretty narrow change.
If you’re involved in residential rentals, or are interested in the subject of residential landlord and tenant law for some other reason, you can read all about this legislation in my Real Estate Law Update for June. It’s posted, along with my earlier newsletters on estate planning, real estate, and tax law going back several years, in the publications section of DeConciniMcDonald.com.
I was interested to see that Los Angeles County is still doing “cash for grass,” a program to encourage removal of lawns as a water-saving measure. I wrote about that a long time ago because I was interested in the tax and land use law implications of it.
The author of the blog post linked above thinks there is irony in the fact that L.A. is paying people to remove grass while the smog there worsens. I’m no expert, but I thought the main things that make smog harmful are ozone and particulates, and I don’t think that having more green plants does anything to reduce those.
IF YOUR PROPERTY HAS A CONSERVATION EASEMENT, OR IF YOU THINK YOUR PROPERTY MIGHT HAVE A CONSERVATION EASEMENT AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS, READ MY REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE
I don’t think I ever posted here about my Real Estate Law Update for May. It’s about a situation in which property owners got into trouble for moving dirt and trees on their property. The got into trouble because those actions violated a conservation easement.
Don’t know what a conservation easement is? Then read the Update. You can see it in the same place where my newsletters are posted every month, in the publications section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
I’m continuing to follow the reporting in the Arizona Republic on an individual’s claim that he owns a parcel of land in downtown Tempe. I have written about it before. The story is interesting to me because it involves title to land, and because the individual's claim is based on adverse possession, a legal concept that I explained in my newsletter several years ago.
The Republic’s reporting has been pretty good, but they do seem to want to put the best face on it for the little guy who is battling city hall (and the state). No surprise there.
The war is just about over, however. The last pending case, which is the city’s action to eject the claimant from the property, was decided in the city’s favor in the Superior Court. The most recent report in the Republic says that the Court of Appeals has just affirmed that ruling. The claimant has one appeal left, to the Arizona Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals also ruled that the city’s claim to ownership of the property is valid. The claimant admits that he has no recorded title to the land.
Stay tuned, but I don’t think this one will go more than one more round.
Efforts by local governments to control the appearance of buildings are never going to stop, are they? The suggestion by a Philadelphia city council member that bay windows should be banned, as a way to preserve the traditional appearance of older neighborhoods, reminds me of a similar effort in Baltimore that I wrote about years ago. As I said then, it is “another example of a municipal government using zoning to control aesthetics, without even any pretense of any other objective (that is, other than a transparent invocation of the usual ‘property values’ ruse).”
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.