Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: So my apartment doesn't have heat and I have a little baby. This morning it was cold so I decided to turn on the heat and then I noticed there isn't any heat. Talked to thr neighbors and they said none of the apartments did. Is it the apartments responsibility to have a heater in the apartment? It's getting colder and I worry about my baby.

Answer: I always recommend consulting the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act found here:

https://housing.az.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/AZ%20Residential%20Landlord%20and%20Tenant%20Act%20-%20Revised%20July%203%202015.pdf

The answer to your question is unfortunately maybe.  If you look at A.R.S. 33-1324(A)(4) and (6) (in the link above), it requires the landlord to:

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

AND

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.

If you live in a single-family residence, you could have agreed in the lease in writing to be responsible for providing A/C and heat.  If you live in a multi-family residence, you could also have agreed to that but it would have been required to be in a separate document signed by both of you (see A.R.S. 33-1324(D)).  You should check your lease.

It's most likely that he is required to provide adequate heat under A.R.S. 33-1324.  If that's true, and he fails to do so, you have 3 options (summarized below):

1. Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat and essential services during the
period of the landlord's noncompliance and deduct their actual reasonable cost from the rent. If
the landlord has failed to provide any of the utility services specified in this section due to
nonpayment of the landlord's utility bill for the premises, and if there is no separate utility meter
for each tenant in the premises such that the tenant could avoid a utility shutoff by arranging to
have services transferred to the tenant's name, the tenant may either individually or collectively
with other tenants arrange with the utility company to pay the utility bill after written notice to
the landlord of the tenant's intent to do so. With the utility company's approval the tenant or
Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act An Arizona
tenants may pay the landlord's delinquent utility bill and deduct from any rent owed to the
landlord the actual cost of the payment the tenant made to restore utility services. The tenant or
tenants may continue to make such payments to the utility company until the landlord has
provided adequate assurances to the tenant that the above utility services will be maintained.

2. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.

3. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord's noncompliance, in
which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance.
In the event the periodic cost of such substitute housing exceeds the amount of the periodic rent,
upon delivery by tenant of proof of payment for such substitute housing, tenant may recover
from landlord such excess costs up to an amount not to exceed twenty-five per cent of the
periodic rent which has been excused pursuant to this paragraph.

Option 1 is basically to provide your own heat and deduct the actual cost from your rent.  Option 2 is basically to sue and get damages (money) from the landlord for the reduced value of the housing without heat.  Option 3 is basically to get other temporary housing and not have to pay rent at the current location until the landlord fixes the heat.

Whichever option you choose, you must give the landlord written notice of what you intend to do.  That notice should be in writing, signed by you if you are the tenant on the lease, and hand-delivered or sent certified mail to the landlord.

Please note that I am providing general information based on the very limited information available to me.  I am unable to provide you with legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created hereby.

I wish you the best in this and all your endeavors.

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • So my apartment doesn't have heat and I have a little baby. This morning it was cold so I decided to turn on the heat and then I noticed there isn't any heat. Talked to thr neighbors and they said none of the apartments did. Is it the apartments responsibility to have a heater in the apartment? It's getting colder and I worry about my baby.

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