Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Article


Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

This article provides an overview of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and the references cited are to the applicable portion of the Arizona Revised Statutes. This information is provided for apartment and home rentals. The rules for renting a mobile home or a space for a mobile are similar but are not covered by the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Mobile home parks are governed by a different set of statutes that can be found at A.R.S. §§ 33-1401 - 33-1501.

A Landlord Cannot do certain things under the Act

While a landlord can bill separately for utilities, he/she cannot make a tenant to sign a lease that requires a tenant to waive any rights under Arizona law. A.R.S. §§ 33-1314.01 & 33-1315. It is also illegal for a landlord to allow someone to live in a residence rent free in return for the landlord not maintaining the property. A.R.S. § 33-1316. In addition, a landlord cannot refuse to rent a residence on the basis that the potential tenant has children. A.R.S. § 33-1317. Landlords must also register with the county assessor. A.R.S. § 33-1902.

From the tenant’s perspective, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that a tenant has a duty to pay rent and to pay that rent on time. If a tenant fails to do so, the landlord will likely bring an eviction action. There is no provision in Arizona law that allows a tenant to withhold rent because the landlord is being disagreeable or because a landlord broke oral promises to a tenant. Except as is explained below, a tenant may not withhold rent.  In order to better protect your rights, keep copies of all payments and notices exchanged between your landlord and yourself. Additionally, require your landlord to put all agreements in a writing s/he signs and dates. If you anticipate a problem, try to get additional evidence, such as witnesses or photographs.

Tenant Obligations 

In addition to the obligation to pay rent on time, a tenant must do the following under Arizona law. A.R.S. §§ 33-1341 & 33-1344.

  •  Keep the residence clean and safe
  • Remove and dispose of trash
  • Keep all plumbing fixtures clean
  • Use electrical appliances, heating and air-conditioning systems and plumbing in a reasonable manner
  • Not deliberately or negligently damage the property or allow someone else to do so
  • Unless agreed otherwise, use the property only as a residence

Access by Landlord to the Residence A.R.S. § 33-1343 

A tenant cannot unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the residence in order to inspect the premises or make repairs. Unless there is an emergency or unless it is impracticable to do so, the landlord must give the tenant at least two days notice that he is going to enter the residence. The landlord can only enter at reasonable times. 

Landlord Obligations 

A landlord is required to do the following under Arizona law. A.R.S. §§ 33-1322 – 1324.

  • Provide the tenant with the name and address of the property’s owner and manager
  • Provide the tenant with a free copy of the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act
  • Provide the tenant with a signed copy of the lease
  • Provide the tenant with possession of the residence
  • Comply with applicable building codes
  • Make necessary repairs so that the residence is habitable
  • Keep common areas clean
  • Maintain all electrical, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning equipment
  • Provide for the removal of trash
  • Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water

 Security Deposits A.R.S. § 33-1321 

A landlord can require that the tenant make a security deposit to cover any potential damages made to the property. The amount of the security deposit cannot be more than one and one-half month’s rent. Upon move-in, the landlord is required to furnish the tenant with a signed copy of the lease, a form documenting any damages to the property, and written notification that the tenant may be present at the move out inspection. However, the tenant is required to ask the landlord when the move out inspection will occur. If a tenant requests the security deposit back after he has moved out, the landlord must return it or provide an itemized list of all of the deductions taken for property damage and the balance of the deposit within 14 days. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant can file suit in a justice court and recover twice the amount wrongfully withheld. 

Tenant Options if Landlord Fails to Comply 

Self-Help for Minor Defects A.R.S. § 33-1363

If a landlord fails to make repairs and the problem can be fixed for either less than $300 or an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent (whichever is greater), the tenant can notify the landlord of his intention to repair the problem at the landlord’s expense. The notification should be in writing. If the landlord does not fix the problem within 10 days from receiving the notice, the tenant can hire a licensed contractor, submit a repair bill to the landlord, and deduct the cost of the work from his rent. This provision does not apply if the damage was caused by the tenant or one of his guests. 

Failure to Supply Essential Services A.R.S. § 33-1364 

If a landlord fails to provide running water, gas and/or electrical service, or fails to provide reasonable amounts of hot water, heat and/or cooling, then the tenant may give notice to the landlord that he is in breach of the lease. At that point, the tenant has one of the following three options:

Option One: The tenant can arrange for utilities on his own and deduct the cost from the rent. With the utility company’s approval, a tenant group or group of tenants can pay a landlord’s delinquent utility bill and deduct that amount from their rent.

Option Two: The tenant can file suit and recover damages based on the decreased fair rental value of the residence.

Option Three: The tenant can find substitute housing (e.g. a motel) during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. If this occurs, the tenant is excused from paying rent for as long as the landlord does not provide the essential service. 

Other Noncompliance by the Landlord A.R.S. § 33-1361 

If the landlord fails to comply with the lease in a material way, the tenant can deliver a written notice to the landlord explaining the failure and stating that the lease will terminate in 10 days. If the landlord’s noncompliance is materially affecting the tenant’s health and safety, then the same notice can state that the lease will end in 5 days. There are two exceptions. First, if the problem can be fixed before the date specified on the notice, then the lease will continue. Second, the problem cannot have been cause by the tenant or his guest.

Military Orders and Lease Provisions 

Under the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act, a military member can break his lease upon receipt of Permanent Change of Station orders or upon receipt of orders deploying him for at least 90 days. 50 App. U.S.C.A. § 535(a). If one of those events occurs, then the landlord cannot refuse to allow the military tenant to leave. This provision of federal law also applies to any of the military member’s family members who may have responsibility under the lease. 50 App. U.S.C.A. § 535(a)(2). A military tenant who is either moving or being deployed is still responsible for any reasonable repair costs to the residence beyond normal wear and tear.

To terminate a lease under this law, the military member must provide the landlord with written notice and a copy of the orders. 50 App. U.S.C.A. § 535(c)(1)(A). The military member can either deliver this notice in person or mail it certified mail, return receipt requested, to his landlord. 50 App. U.S.C.A. § 535(c)(2).

As a general rule, the only defense to an allegation of nonpayment of rent is that the rent was actually paid, in the manner and in the amount provided in the lease.


Comments:

On 5/1/09
Melanie said
I am a landlady and have been for 30 years - also I am a realtor. I am often appalled at the stories I hear of bad landlords. Some of the things they do or not do are just unconsionable. The Landlord/Tenant act is your friend - it is fair law.

On 10/8/07
Laurel said
I also have a serious scorpion problem. My husband has already been stung and we incurred a hospital bill because of it and we have an 18 month old son who constantly has scorpions around him in his play area and where he sleeps. What can we do?

On 10/6/07
Nancy said
my landlord never gave me electric bills for 6 months and is now suing me the amount plus costs? What can i do. I did ask manager each month about the bill

On 8/22/07
steph said
I have a serious scorpion problem also. I need to break my lease what can we do

On 8/10/07
MICHELLE  said
I MOVED IN TO LAS MONTA√ĎAS APTS. ABOUT 6MONTHS AGO AND I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET THEM TO FIX TO FIX THE APPLIENCES THAT ARE LISTED ON THE LEASE THEY WILL NOT HELP , CAN I TERMINATE THE LEASE?

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QUESTIONS

  • My boyfriend and I paid our rent 435 + 48 late fees for the prior month leaving us a balance of 65 dollars in late fees for this month. I seen AZ law states that a 10% total rent is the most that can be charged for late fees. Per the rental agreement, the only mention of late fees 25.00 + 5.00 daily late fees until for any portion of rent that is not paid. There is no section devoted to late fees as required by AZ law. I was wondering can a landlord charge late fees on the months late fees?
  • My year long lease expires July 31. I received my lease renewal letter on July 22 (letter dated July 18) advising me that the monthly rental amount will increase by $75 effective August 1! How much notice must be given for such a large (or any) increase and when would the increase go into effect?
  • I am having a situation similar to what you describe regarding my old landlord withholding my deposit, and not contacting me at all after our walk through, when i had verbally requested an itemized list of deductions. it has been 20 business days and he has not contacted me. I'm looking for the text of Schaefer v. Murphey to read. Your article mentions the case, but I can not find any more information about it. Any help would be much appreciated
  • I sent my July rent on the 30th of June, the 8th my landlord tells me am late and to send rent and late fees. I sent him an email telling him I had sent it since the 30th, no response. I sent him another one saying that I will resend the check again, no response either. apparently he hasn't receive the new check either. Becouse it hasn't cleared. I asked him if he had gotten it and he said he would check and get back to me but no answer yet. I have no returned mail. Is it possible he wants to evict me?
  • for 8 weeks i had a leek with foul smelling oder,when it was to be fixed i was told we would have to stay somewhere with my pets so they could work.i told my landlords i had no place to go or could not afford a Motel, did not matter. it cost me $362.30 but i was told they would take off $125.00 from my rent. thats not right,is it?
  • I have not recieved any reciepts of my rental payments. I have to put the money in the landlords bank account. When i asked for a print out of all rent payments that I have, the landlord refused my request. Is there anything I can do to legally have my rent reciept records? i know he can not pull a back statement of his to show my rent payments were deposited, but shouldnt he give me a reciept of payments by law? I have never recieved a reciept after depositing the money and I thought that was kind of fishy. Please help, Its for my records and finances.
  • If I accidentally put a hole in our garage door who is responsible to fix it?
  • When a Landlord is going to evict you, what process do they have to go through to insure the Notice gets to you?
  • if the landlord keeps the deposit for cleaning and repairs do they have to show a recipt as well as the list of all repairs
  • My co-leasors are moving back to Montana at the end of this month and our lease does not expire until May. What are the ramifications of ending the lease early?

STORIES

  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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