The Maricopa County Assessor has been in the news because he has been indicted for allegedly running an illegal adoption business. I don’t have an opinion on the merits of the charges against him. I can tell you that his alleged crimes have nothing to do with the office to which he was elected. In fact, he was allegedly running the business before he was elected.
What is function of the office to which he was elected, county assessor? The function of the county assessor is to determine the value of all property in the county for tax purposes. That’s essentially it.
Why would someone who is running an allegedly illegal and lucrative business that has nothing to do with property run for the job of county assessor? I have no idea.
At what point does government red tape become so onerous that it amounts to a taking of private property for which the property owner must be compensated under the Fifth Amendment? That has been a much-discussed question for some time now. I know that some people say the answer is never, but there are indications that the courts may be heading in the other direction.
Two recent cases are illustrative. One is a decision that allows local governments to be sued in state court when a property owner claims that regulations amount to a taking. The other is a California case involving the imposition of historical review requirements after the property owner was allowed to demolish the purportedly historic building on his property.
At least one blogger, and a number of commenters on the blog where he posts, think that historic preservation of private property should be the sole province of the property owner.
That viewpoint is consistent with consistent with the more general opinion I have expressed about building aesthetics: if it’s private property, and there weren’t any rules in place regulating the building’s appearance when the owner bought it, then the owner I should be able to do pretty much whatever he or she wants to the appearance of the building.
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.
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.