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 need a paper stating I completed community service from the courts to be placed on my s/o lease and was wondering how I go about getting that paperwork? and I have to have it signed by someone as well.Where would I be able to get proof if the court is my only option for where to get it?
  • My mom's land lord gave us a letter that we had to sign for from the mail man stating that she had 60 to move out. His reason for kicking my mother out was " He wanted new tenants"? Is that legal in Arizona also his appointment does not have any smoke dectors there mold in the bathroom and kitchen I have ask him 6+ times to address this issue and he reply is ok I'm going to have someone come out and fix the toilet n sinks but no one ever came my mother has been in the hospital 4 times now due to his neglected duty to fix things in his apartments. He is a slum land lord can someone please help.
  • Our landlord gave us 1.5 hours to complete the move in forms. Even though we asked for more time by leaving the form with us. She demanded that she had to be there to compete it with us but that she had an appointment and both parties were on a time frame. I want to know how much time Arizona gives a tenant for a move in form. Did we have the right to request more time and the right is she couldn't be there to complete it on our own?
  • Can a landlord refuse to put the electricity bill in his/her name?
  • We have been having trouble with our A/C unit for over a year now and each time the landlord "fixes" it it breaks soon after. Last summer our place was uninhabitable for 3 weeks. The landlord "fixed" our AC twice already this week. Today they showed up to let us know it's still broken. What do we do?
  • Can you end a lease early if the place you live is not safe? (gun shotting and domestic violence in the area) If you do end a lease early ..what is the fee there are allowed to charge you?
  • The apartment complex has not had gas for over a year what should we do?
  • Our landlord has decided to upgrade/renovate all apartments and says we have to move into another apartment either temporarily or permanently (our choice). This will cause inconvenience, time, energy, and money since some of us will need help moving furniture. Must they pay moving expenses, move our belongings for us, or compensate in any way? Can we terminate our lease (mine is up in a couple of months) because we are forced to move all of our belongings out? I'm thinking if I have to move everything out anyway, that perhaps I should just move altogether. The apartments are in good shape.... nothing wrong with them. What are my rights? How much notice do they have to give us? Btw.... I have housing assistance. Thank you
  • My brother and I had a verbal agreement that he would purchase my property in which I run my business from and live and we would then do a lease option to buy back with a set price being set at time of agreement and I would be responsible for making interest only payments on the money he borrowed to pay for the property, which was fine. However he has not provided me with any type of a written agreement, it is two years later and payment is quadruple what it was suppose to be and now he is trying to evict me and sell the property, do I have any rights? I have emails stating the above.
  • Can landlord request social security number and Medicare number for medical contact sheet? Doctor and insurance information already given on medical contact sheet

STORIES

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

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