My question involves real estate located in the State of: Arizona, but I'd be interested if similar laws in other states cover what I'm talking about.
In my homeowners association, I'd say about 1/3 of the homeowners have citrus trees that range between 10-20' tall. Obviously to get this tall, the association had to let this happen for YEARS. I bought a house 2 years ago with 3 citrus trees and figured there was no issue with them. Yes, I probably should have read the by-laws from cover to cover, but I didn't do that.
Now the association sent a letter to all homeowners stating the CC&Rs state that only dwarf citrus trees less than 6' high are permitted. To try to trim a 10'-20' tree down to 6' would probably kill it, and I would have to pay for both the initial trimming and probably an eventual tree removal. The reason they gave was to prevent the proliferation of roof rats, although I can make several arguments that this effort is probably an exercise in futility.
But I seem to recall some principle of the law that says that is some governing body like a homeowners assn allows a practice like this for an extended period of time where it would be an extreme detriment to homeowners to change course and suddenly start enforcing the by-laws as written again, the fact that they let things go ends up becoming the new de-facto standard and that they cannot force us to get rid of our trees.
Can anyone help point me to where I might find such a law codified or stated anywhere that I can point our association to, letting them know that homeowners can fight and win against their draconian enforcement?