Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: I recently had a plumbing drain pipe from my kitchen sink break off inside the wall . Found this out when I was washing dishes went into bathroom And water was coming out of the walls . Notified property manager with in 1 hour . Had a plumber come out the next And was unable to fix issue . He pulled the stove back to access issue and there was a large piece of drywall missing and exposing interior wall . I'm with out a kitchen sink for for almost 4 days stove about 3 . I've been exposed to that wall being open for since I moved in 6 weeks . What are my rights ? Is this a breach of contract ?

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. 33 Chapter 10), a residential landlord is required (among other things) to “comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety”; “make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition”; and “maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances […] supplied or required to be supplied by him” (A.R.S. 33-1324). A failure to repair within a reasonable period of time a problem that is significant enough to be considered “material noncompliance” with the rental agreement is a violation of the landlord’s legal duties and therefore a breach of lease. (The reasonableness of delay “clock” ordinarily begins to run once the landlord has received formal notice of the problem from the tenant. A dated written letter always works best.) If, after the landlord has received formal notice from the tenant, a “reasonable” period of time passes and the landlord does nothing to fix the problem, then the tenant has several options, each of which requires that the tenant deliver a second formal notice to the landlord: 1. If the problem is significant enough to be considered “material noncompliance” with the rental agreement, then the tenant may deliver to the landlord written notice – ideally by certified mail (to have proof that it was sent and the landlord received it) – identifying the problem and stating that if the problem is not fixed within 10 days after the landlord receives this notice then the rental agreement will terminate (A.R.S. 33-1361). (This only applies if the problem was not caused or made worse by the tenant herself.) 2. If a landlord fails to fix the problem within the specified period of time – and the problem can be fixed for less than either (a) $300 or (b) an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent (whichever is greater) – then the tenant also has the option of notifying the landlord of the tenant’s intention to fix the problem him/herself at the landlord’s expense. If the landlord receives written notice of the tenant’s intention to fix the problem, and still does nothing – either after 10 days if the problem is not too serious or as soon as necessary in the case of an emergency – then the tenant may have the work done by a licensed contractor and, after submitting the bill (including an itemized statement of the work completed) to the landlord, deduct from his rent the actual and reasonable cost of the work from the tenant’s next rent payment (A.R.S. 33-1363). If you would like to speak with an attorney about your specific situation, there are links to organizations offering free or low-cost legal services on this website, and the LegalLEARN Helpline toll-free telephone number is 1-866-637-5341.

QUESTIONS

  • I recently had a plumbing drain pipe from my kitchen sink break off inside the wall . Found this out when I was washing dishes went into bathroom And water was coming out of the walls . Notified property manager with in 1 hour . Had a plumber come out the next And was unable to fix issue . He pulled the stove back to access issue and there was a large piece of drywall missing and exposing interior wall . I'm with out a kitchen sink for for almost 4 days stove about 3 . I've been exposed to that wall being open for since I moved in 6 weeks . What are my rights ? Is this a breach of contract ?

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