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Arizona Real Estate Journal

Arizona School of Real Estate and Business

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Whose Fence is it Anyway?: Fences on Property Lines in Arizona

Whose Fence is it Anyway?: Fences on Property Lines in Arizona

By | Real Estate

There’s a popular saying coined by Robert Frost in his poem “Mending Wall”: “Good fences make good neighbors.” The idea is, generally, that this eases the ability for neighbors to respect one anothers’ property by taking the gray-zones out of where one parcel ends and another begins. (It’s amazing how angry people can get when a neighbor simply mows one row beyond where they believe their property begins.) But this proverb (so to speak) does beg the question: when there’s a fence sitting right on the property line, who does it belong to? Who is responsible for its care? For repairs? Read More

Arizona Property Tax Exemption For Churches and Religious Nonprofits: How Does My Organization Get It and How Do We Keep It?

Arizona Property Tax Exemption For Churches and Religious Nonprofits: How Does My Organization Get It and How Do We Keep It?

By | Church

The Arizona Constitution permits taxation of all real estate, improvements to real estate, and, for that matter, all personal property—with certain exemptions determined both within the Constitution itself and in the Arizona Revised Statutes. Among the latter exemptions, as you may have already guessed, is an exemption for churches and religious organizations. But it isn’t just as simple as any property the church owns being exempted from property tax. Read More

Restrictive Covenants in Arizona Real Estate Law

Restrictive Covenants in Arizona Real Estate Law

By | Real Estate

Restrictive covenants come in various stripes, but in real estate law they can most broadly be considered an agreement that requires one party to a contract (usually a buyer) to either take a particular action or to abstain from a particular action. These covenants are generally adopted as part of the purchase, and are written into the deed of the property. Those who purchase the property and fail to follow these covenants become subject to penalties. Read More

How to Protect Your View

How to Protect Your View

By | Real Estate

Many people purchase property in Arizona with an eye for the surrounding aesthetics. Mountainsides, valleys, and rock formations in the environs of one’s home can, in fact, be a large reason that individuals decide to purchase a particular property, or, for that matter, that business-owners purchase or lease a particular property. (Think, for example, of a restaurant that provides a view of Camelback Mountain. That ambiance may well be a strong reason for such an establishment’s success.) So when an adjacent property owner decides to develop their property so that it threatens the view, some property owners or tenants will wonder whether they have any recourse. The answer is “probably no,” with a limited yes. The “yes” portion has to do with what are known as “view easements.” Read More

Who’s in Charge Here?: Nonprofit Boards and Executive Committees

Who’s in Charge Here?: Nonprofit Boards and Executive Committees

By | Nonprofit

It’s not uncommon for the board of a nonprofit to empower an executive committee to act on the board’s behalf during times when the board is out of session. Especially when the full board cannot be convened expeditiously, boards may find an executive committee to be an attractive alternative. On the other hand, some boards form an executive committee because they simply perceive that other nonprofits have one. Read More

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in Arizona Real Estate

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in Arizona Real Estate

By | Real Estate

Like 46 other states (as well as DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), the state of Arizona has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”). This Act, published in 1999 by the Uniform Law Commission, was designed with the express intention of giving the same effect previously given to handwritten signatures under the statute of frauds to electronic signatures. Read More

Clergy Confidentiality in Arizona: What is Confidential?

Clergy Confidentiality in Arizona: What is Confidential?

By | Church

Members of religious congregations often rely on their clergypeople in times of uncertainty and distress, and the offering of penitence is even a core practice in some faiths. Naturally this often entails the disclosing of personal and otherwise private information—the sort of disclosures that people generally like kept secret for any number of reasons. Because of how important this is in the practice of religion, the clergy-penitent legal privilege has long been an observed in Arizona, as in the US more broadly. Read More

Considering the Foreclosure Savings Clause

Considering the Foreclosure Savings Clause

By | Real Estate

Documents that affect the viability of—or that validate—a loan are likely to contain something called a “savings clause.” Savings clauses are inserted into contracts to ensure that the contract will remain as intact and enforceable as the law will permit, even in the case that some portion of the document is determined unenforceable by a court or otherwise invalidated. These clauses can refer to the entire contract, or to specific provisions within a given contract. They are intended, in other words, to serve as a source of relative certainty—even in the sorts of situations where uncertainty may be at issue. These clauses are also at times referred to as “severability clauses”—reflecting the intent by the parties to request that a court “sever” (cut away or render inert) whatever portion of the contract the law must deem invalid while maintaining the rest of the agreement, and even to indicate particular portions of the contract that they would favor to have severed, as against others (the ones they would most like to “save”). Read More

Can a Religious Organization Require Employees to Sign a Statement of Faith?

Can a Religious Organization Require Employees to Sign a Statement of Faith?

By | Church

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from either the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The meaning and application of the First Amendment has been hotly debated. One such are of ongoing debate is in the realm of employment law. Religious institutions are after all employers. So how does employment law intersect with the First Amendment? Read More

Commercial Zoning and Land Use in Arizona

Commercial Zoning and Land Use in Arizona

By | Real Estate

Zoning of a geographic area in Arizona is performed by city and county governments with the goal of maintaining the health, safety, and economic solvency of the community found there, and to control the rate of an area’s growth. The zoning ordinances and land use regulations applied to a given area govern the ways in which the land within it may be used, and may even regulate the appearance or size of buildings found there—including the building materials used to construct them, the distance buildings must be from the roads, and even the height or colors in which they may be rendered. Some of these zones are designated “commercial.” Read More

The Consideration of Time in Adverse Possession

The Consideration of Time in Adverse Possession

By | Real Estate

One of the core underpinnings of our system of real property is that when an owner of property is divested of some portion of that property, they will naturally want to receive some form of compensation in exchange. Which is why some people find themselves shocked to learn that Arizona honors the concept of “adverse possession”—sometimes referred to colloquially as “squatter’s rights.” Read More

When a Church Runs a School, Can the State Deny Grants for School Improvements?

Can a Church Participate in a Government Grant Program?

By | Church

There are numerous government grant programs that provide money for all sorts of things. Is it permissible for a church to participate and receive government grant money? The answer to that question can sometimes be complicated, but the Supreme Court has determined that there are certain cases where the government will violate the Constitution if it prohibits a church from participating in a grant program. Read More

When Disputes Arise from Construction

When Disputes Arise from Construction

By | Real Estate

While building projects are often sources of positive anticipation, they also have a tricky tendency to go sideways in any number of ways. This can result in unfortunate frustration and disillusionment, particularly when projected completion dates come and go while construction shows no sign of being finished. Disputes are common in construction; they can have serious effect on the relationships between property owner and contractor, and at times real estate litigation may prove the only way forward. Read More

Do Courts Ever Have Jurisdiction to Resolve Church Disputes?

Do Courts Ever Have Jurisdiction to Resolve Church Disputes?

By | Church

The tension caused by the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is fairly well known. This tension creates a sometimes hazy line that has spawned numerous cases. One of the issues raised in this area is whether the courts have jurisdiction to resolve church disputes. And, as is common in this area of law, the answer is “yes and no,” and the answer depends on a number of factors. Read More

Which Employees Are Considered “Ministers” in Employment Law?

Which Employees Are Considered “Ministers” in Employment Law?

By | Church

When most people think about what a “minister” is, a certain picture or church experience may come to mind. However, for purposes of employment law, the term “minister” has a broader definition than just the person who preaches a sermon or presides over a wedding or funeral. For purposes of employment law, employees who are considered “ministers” trigger First Amendment protections for their position that prevent the government from forcing a religious organization or church to retain an unwanted employee. Read More