Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: Is a tenant responsible for existing code violations when the violations existed before tenet moved in.The landlord has served an eviction notice.

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, landlords must “maintain fit premises” (A.R.S. 33-1324). This includes the obligation to “comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety.” Conditions materially affecting health and safety include inadequate sanitation, ventilation, or space requirements; structural hazards; hazardous wiring; hazardous plumbing; hazardous mechanical equipment; faulty weather protection; fire hazards or inadequate fire protection; faulty materials or construction; hazardous or unsanitary premises; inadequate maintenance; unhealthy conditions; inadequate exits; and improper occupancy (A.R.S. 9-1303). Landlords have a duty to make all repairs and do whatever else may be necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition; to keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition; and to maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him. Under this same Act, tenants have a similar obligation to “maintain the dwelling unit” (A.R.S.33-1341). Tenants must “comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building codes materially affecting health and safety”; keep that part of the premises that they occupy and use as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit; dispose from the dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner; keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits; use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises; and not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so. If the building code violations for which a tenant allegedly is being evicted were not caused or contributed to or made significantly worse by the tenant then the landlord should be responsible for making the necessary repairs. This is the case whether or not those violations existed before the tenant moved in.

QUESTIONS

  • Is a tenant responsible for existing code violations when the violations existed before tenet moved in.The landlord has served an eviction notice.

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