Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: Hi I recently moved into a rental home and things are continuously going wrong. We went without A/C for 4 days before it was fixed, the electrical sockets in the bathroom go on and off continuously on their own for days at a time and we have a toilet that leaks. At what point can we terminate a lease and still get our security deposit back? The landlord expects these things to be fixed by us first then her then a professional. I know nothing about electrical things so now its her turn to look before a professional each time takes days-weeks to fix.

Answer:

The following is intended as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. To determine how the law applies to your specific situation, you may wish to consult an attorney.

You may find the article “Landlord Tenant Relationship”  helpful as it contains information applicable to your situation. A landlord must keep the premises in habitable condition and occasionally damages to a rental unit may be severe enough to allow a tenant to cancel the lease and obtain the security deposit under certain conditions. As the Landlord Tenant Relationship article states: “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.”

A.R.S. 33-1324 indicates that a landlord and tenant can enter into an agreement that the tenant will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of certain aspects of the property: A. The landlord shall:

1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety as prescribed in section 9-1303.
2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
3. Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
4. 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.
5. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal.
6. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, reasonable heat and reasonable air-conditioning or cooling where such units are installed and offered, when required by seasonal weather conditions, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air-conditioning, cooling or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection. C.

The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing, supported by adequate consideration, that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in subsection A, paragraphs 5 and 6 of this section, and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations and remodeling, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith, not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section. Essentially this states that a landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing that the tenant will be responsible for trash removal, air conditioning, and running water.

Section C does not directly address whether a landlord can require the tenant to perform electrical maintenance.

QUESTIONS

  • Hi I recently moved into a rental home and things are continuously going wrong. We went without A/C for 4 days before it was fixed, the electrical sockets in the bathroom go on and off continuously on their own for days at a time and we have a toilet that leaks. At what point can we terminate a lease and still get our security deposit back? The landlord expects these things to be fixed by us first then her then a professional. I know nothing about electrical things so now its her turn to look before a professional each time takes days-weeks to fix.

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