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 am living at an apartment in Tucson, AZ. The a/c went out over two weeks ago and since then it has been 93+ degree's in my apartment. I have tried calling management but there is nothing they can do for another week. I have asked if substitute housing is available and they have denied. Is there anything I can do?
  • Does the landlord cover pest control
  • We've signed a lease for 1 yr from July 15th, 2017 to July 15, 2018. Our owner is attempting to modify our lease agreement which states that our management office will collect any mail packages while we are absent. Now, they are threatening to charge us $7 a month to rent an on premise locker or we'll have to drive to our local post office to retrieve our mail packages. Is it legal to change the lease terms 4 months after we signed our Lease?
  • I recently moved out of an apartment, I was there for about 4 years. Now I am currently looking for a new place to live. I found a house for rent, the rental agency requires my most current landlord to verify that I did live at that address and paid rent. When they called him to verify, he refused to answer any questions. Can he do that? Now I may have a lot harder time finding a place to rent.
  • Landlord has not filed with the county as a rental. Landlord died and no local contact from 2012 to 2016 and NO CONTACT from 2016 until 5/2018. I had request the cooler be replaced, but no action taken by respondent. Trust attorney now forcing me to purchase or evict, without any repairs to house.
  • I am renting a house and the lease states renters are responsible for "yard maintenance." A storm broke 3 large branches on a tree in the backyard, one of which is laying on the patio canopy. The landlord said "I am responsible for yard maintenance. They will pay for any damages." I believe a tree nearly destroyed by a storm is different than yard maintenance and the landlord should have the branches removed and make the determination as to whether the tree should also be removed. Is it legal for them to force the cost of this clean up and potential tree removal on me?
  • If there is a broken sprinkler valve, are we, the tenant, responsible for fixing this or the landlord? I have requested the landlord to fix it but they are saying it is our responsibility. It was given to us in working condition but it has broken. We have lived here for almost 2 years now. Thank you!
  • my apartment complex is refusing to contact anyone other than their own complex repair people to fix our AC. we have been without working AC for OVER a week.. •1) can we withhold rent until this issue is resolved? •2) if so, who do we give our rent payments to in the mean time? •3) how long do they have to get the issue resolved after the 5 days from giving them written notice of the issue? thank you!
  • My landlord turned off the air conditioning between Nov 2014 and March 2015. The ac is controlled per bldg. I read ARS 33-1364 and spoke to two different people at Neighborhood services. Both stated the management company violated the law because it is not stated in the lease that the ac will be cut off between Dates A & B. I am going to try to resolve this with them but I would like to ensure I am on solid ground.
  • Our landlords sent us an email stating that we have to pay for professional cleaning or they will take $450 from our security deposit. From the research I have done, I understand that this is illegal and we are only obligated to deep clean it and leave it in the same condition as when we moved in. Do we have to professionally clean or not?

STORIES

  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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