Arizona Real Estate Matters: Easement vs. Private Property Maintenance

Bill Photo– By Bill Iannelli

Q. Picture four (two-plus acre) Phoenix city limit lots that form a kind of square. My parents access their lot via a dirt road (easement) between two of the three other properties. The fourth property owner has his own access from a different street but chooses to use the dirt easement road for horse trailers and other heavier, larger vehicles. This involves crossing into my parent’s property on the same road. Do my parents have any legal right to get this owner to help cover maintenance?

A. This is a tough one.  To begin with, all property owners should have put together a road maintenance agreement spelling out the process and who pays what. In the absence of an agreement, the cost shall be shared proportionately to the use made of the easement by each owner.  Your parents would need to have a discussion and try to work something out with the fourth property owner.  If they refuse, it becomes a civil issue and you would have to take them to court.  Private road maintenance agreements vary by jurisdiction, so local law should be consulted for specific requirements.

Q. Almost two years ago the house across the street was burned. I know it has been purchased by someone in Mexico to fix up. All that has been done was to remove the A/C and do a little boarding up. It is opened, so anyone can enter. Children do often, and could get hurt. How long do we have to look at this unsafe and ugly piece of property?

A. You need to fill out a form for blighted properties with the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services.  Here is the link: They will contact the owner to bring the property in compliance.

Bill Iannelli is broker/owner of Iannelli and Associates Real Estate, serving the entire Valley of the Sun and Prescott. Email your questions to, or call 602.463.9166. The answers are not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for more information.

Photo credit: via / CC BY

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