Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Article


The Landlord Tenant Relationship

Rights, Responsibilities, and Remedies

Arizona Landlord Tenant Law

The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ARLTA)is the law governing most private, residential, rental agreements. In other words, the ARLTA provides tenants and landlords with rights, obligations and remedies in the rental relationship. Copies of the ARLTA are available at the Secretary of State’s web site and Community Legal Services. If you are experiencing housing problems, contact a legal aid group in your area.

Protecting Your Rights

Keeping Receipts and Notices

The inability to prove the truth is the most common problem tenants face when issues arise in their relationships with landlords. 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.

Eviction

Landlords may evict tenants for a variety of reasons, however, all eviction notices must be in writing. The amount of time a tenant has to either vacate the premises or fix the problem, if possible, is dependent upon the type of eviction. For example, if it is discovered you have an unauthorized pet, the landlord could give you 10 days to either vacate the premises or get rid of the pet. If the problem involves such things as criminal activity or threatening other residents or apartment staff, the required notice to vacate is 24 hours and there is no opportunity to fix the problem. Once an eviction notice is given, there is a very short period of time, sometimes as little as 2 days, before a trial may be held. If you receive an eviction notice, you are encouraged to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.

Obligations of Your Landlord

Security Deposits

Landlords may require tenants to pay a deposit when they begin renting. The security deposit cannot be more than one and a half times your monthly rent and must state in writing any deposits which are non-refundable.

Safe Environment

Landlords must provide several things in exchange for rental payments. One of the most basic and important requirements is that your landlord provide you and your family with a healthy and safe living environment. Your living environment includes your apartment or home, and any common areas the landlord owns and holds open to residents.

Things Your Landlord Must Provide

The law specifically states:

  • Your landlord must keep all appliances, which they supply, in working order.
  • Your landlord must provide you with a way to dispose of garbage.
  • Your landlord must make it possible for you to receive running water, including hot water.
  • Your landlord must supply everything they promised in the lease. They can only shut off your utilities in a few very limited situations.

If you rent a home, your landlord and yourself can agree that you will perform the maintenance on the property. You must, however, be given some consideration, such as being paid or having your rent reduced.

Repairs Costing Less Than ½ Month’s Rent or $300

If a rental unit is in need of minor repair(s), and the damage(s) were not caused by the tenant, tenant’s family or guests, the landlord will probably be responsible for making the repair(s). The law requires you first give your landlord written notice of the problem, stating the landlord has 10 days to make the repair(s). If the landlord fails to make the repair(s) after 10 days and the cost of the repair(s) will be less than the greater of ½ month’s rent or $300, you must hire a licensed contractor and get a lien release and either forward the bill to your landlord or pay for the repair yourself and deduct it from your next rental payment. A copy of the bill and the lien release must be included with your rent.

Breach of Lease for Failure to Repair

Occasionally damages to a rental unit, which are not caused by the tenant, tenant’s family or guests, may be severe enough to allow the tenant to cancel their lease agreement on the basis that the landlord failed to fulfill their obligations. Before seeking this remedy, however, you must be able to prove an important obligation was not kept and give your landlord a written notice. For most violations, you must give your landlord a written notice stating they have 10 days to make the repair. If the problem threatens your health or safety, you only need to give the landlord 5 days to make the repair. If the landlord fixes the problem within the appropriate amount of time, the lease cannot be cancelled. If the landlord does not fix the problem within the appropriate time, you can choose to end the lease early and get your security deposit back. We strongly encourage you to seek legal advice before resorting to this remedy because of the legal repercussions for tenants who seek this remedy improperly.

Failure to Supply Promised Utilities

In some rental relationships the landlord has exclusive control over utilities, including water, gas, electricity and air conditioning. In such situations, the landlord cannot fail to supply the promised utility(s). If your landlord violates this promise, you must first request in writing that your landlord supply the services. If the landlord does not supply the service(s), you can either:

  • Buy the service(s) yourself and deduct the cost from the rent;
  • Sue the landlord for the amount by which your home or apartment is reduced in value because of the lack of service(s);
  • Temporarily rent another place and not pay rent for the apartment that lacks service(s). In addition the tenant may then recover up to 25% of his daily rent if the substitute housing costs more than the daily rent he owed his landlord. Remember you must write to your landlord and tell them of the problem before you do any of these things, and it cannot be a problem caused by you, your family or a guest.

Obligations of the Tenant

Paying the Rent

If you plan to remain in possession, you must continue to pay rent even if your landlord is not living up to his or her end of the bargain. Not paying rent gives the appearance that you are trying to break the lease, and weakens any argument you may about improper actions by your landlord. It is hard to say you are not getting what you paid for if you did not pay.

Letting Your Landlord Enter Your House or Apartment

You must allow your landlord and his or her employees to enter your house or apartment if he or she notifies you in writing at least two days before they seek access. They cannot enter very early in the morning or at night. If there is an emergency, they don’t have to give you notice to enter. If your landlord violates these rules, you may sue and recover one month’s rent and either:

  • Get a court order to prevent your landlord from unreasonably entering or
  • Terminate your lease.

Information provided in this pamphlet is based on Arizona law as of May 2002.


Comments:

On 8/29/07
lucy said
I reside @ apts. my lease agreement states they are not liable for residents safety, security,ie fire, vandalism, defects in apt or the community and deny a trial by jury. is this lawful?

On 7/20/07
Nancy said
In our lease it states electricity provided. Does that mean we have to pay for it or is the landlord responsible for it?

On 6/29/07
Maria said
I live in an apt complex & have new Property manager.Jst recvd a "Maintenance Repair Cost" at my door that whn I submit a workorder all fees of repair wl be added to rent. Can they do this?

QUESTIONS

  • I rented my motorhome to a friend. Agreement was until June 1st 2017. On several occasions I reminded them they needed to move. After a few weeks I went to remind them again and they moved the motorhone without my permission. Aftet I found where they noved my motothome we both agreed one more week. After week was up I went to tell them tbey needed to move out tbey refused when I retur ed a week later they abanded my motorhome, removed my property that Was in the motorhome and left motorhome filthy. Please help what to I do.
  • Is there a max that a landlord can charge for a lease up fee before move in?
  • I am a landlord and have a question about my legal rights to be notified by the power company (SSVEC) before they shut off service because the Tennant did not pay their electric bill. The signed rental contract gives permission to the power company to notify me of a pending shut off. They have this agreement on file. It gets below freezing here and this puts our units at risk of having frozen or bursting water lines. Also the smoke detectors are disabled. I never want the utilities turned off on the apartments because of this. They just shut off the power for 10 days before I'm aware.
  • I was assaulted twice by another tenant ,once in October 2017 and once in February 2018 after walking my dogs ,on a leash, and tenant's bulldog charged after my small dogs,she threatened and hit me on both occasions and pulled a gun on me in second assault...police say they are still investigating though a video shows she hit me and she admitted to striking me on first assault.Manager has do e nothing to this woman except for a warning and stating to me this woman says she is moving in the future. seeing how the second assault was foreseeable ,past assault, can complex be held liable
  • I moved out my rental unit about three weeks ago. Two other people applied for the apt however plans fell through and only I ended up moving in.I paid for the deposit, and made all monthly payments. I received my check for move out refunds for amount of less than 200, but I’m unable to deposit or cash it since it’s made out to all three parties who applied initially. I contacted the office twice and emailed numerous times with no response back. All three people Who applied are Included in lease but did not sign or ever lived in the unit. Landlord will not return callWhat can I do, need advise.
  • So at my apartments I pay my own srp bill And this month I received a second bill from the apartments saying I need to pay extra for power that they use in the clubhouse and pool area. Is that legal???
  • My apartments use a "chiller system", and refuse to put on the air conditioner despite it reaching 80+ degrees inside the apartment. Aren't they required to provide air conditioner? As it is an essential service in AZ.
  • Can I break my lease and move if there are other residents close to my apartment that always are bringing out their handguns and crossbow, especially while they have been drinking, making me feel unsafe in my own home?
  • i paid off my lease in full and i only stayed 6 months and paid a fee and gave full 60 days notice. should i get the rest of the rent that i paid back?
  • Our roof caved in in the bedroom and looks shaky in the kitchen (under the entire weight of the swamp cooler). We have sent a certified letter. We are moving but our landlord is refusing to refund our deposit. What are my options?

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