questions & answers
Question: What is the tenants right to having hot water available to them over 48 hours without it. Landlord refusing to resolve the issue.
Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. Title 33 Chapter 10), a landlord is required by law to (among other things) “make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition”; “maintain in good and safe working order and condition” all plumbing facilities and appliances supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord; and supply “reasonable amounts of hot water at all times” (A.R.S. 33-1324). If you do not have hot water, then the legal options available to you will depend on whether you want (a) to continue to reside in the dwelling while waiting for the hot water problem to be repaired or (b) to terminate the rental agreement if the hot water problem is not repaired quickly. Either way, a tenant in your situation must first provide the landlord with formal written notice of the problem – ideally in a signed and dated letter (keeping a copy for your own records) – describing the problem in detail and requesting that it be fixed as soon as reasonably possible. If, even after that letter has been received, the landlord does not fix the problem, then the tenant has the option of delivering to the landlord a letter describing the problem and informing the landlord that the rental agreement will terminate on a date 10 days (or more) after receipt of the notice if the problem is not fixed in 10 days (or, if the problem materially affects health and safety, 5 days) (A.R.S. 33-1361). If the landlord has acted either *deliberately or negligently* in failing to provide the tenant with hot water, which is considered an “essential service,” for an extended period of time, then the tenant may again notify the landlord of the seriousness of the problem and do any of the following: Option One: The tenant may arrange for the required utilities on her own and deduct the cost of those utilities from the tenant’s next monthly rent payment. Option Two: The tenant may file a claim in court to recover damages based on the decreased fair rental value of the dwelling. Option Three: The tenant may find “reasonable substitute housing” (an inexpensive motel, for example) until the landlord restores the essential service. What this means is that when the tenant pays his/her rent for the following month, the tenant may pay a “prorated” amount. (So, for example, if the monthly rent is $900 (or $30/day), and the tenant is forced to stay in a motel for 5 days, then the tenant may reduce the next month’s rent payment by $150.) If the cost of this substitute housing exceeds the amount of the tenant’s rent for the period, then the tenant also may recover up to 25% (but no more) of the additional expense from the landlord (A.R.S. 33-1364). If you would like legal advice from an attorney, there are links to free or low-cost legal services on this website, and the LegalLEARN Helpline toll-free telephone number is 1-866-637-5341.
What is the tenants right to having hot water available to them over 48 hours without it. Landlord refusing to resolve the issue.
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