Security DepositsWhat is a security deposit?
A security deposit is a sum of money that a landlord is permitted to charge a tenant at the beginning of a lease or rental agreement in order to ensure that if the tenant causes any damage to the rental unit beyond ordinary wear and tear or moves out without first paying all of the rent that the tenant owes, the landlord will have the money to cover those losses.
Why is it important to document the condition of a rental unit before moving in/out?
Given that one of the major purposes of a security deposit is to ensure that a landlord has the money to cover the cost to repair any damage to the rental unit caused by a tenant, it is strongly recommended that both the tenant and the landlord TAKE PHOTOS AND/OR VIDEO of the rental unit showing its condition both before the tenant moves in and just after the tenant moves out. A tenant who is vacating a rental unit may also wish to have a friend drop by to witness the condition of the unit first-hand.
How much may a security deposit be?
Under Arizona law, a landlord may ask for a security deposit up to an amount that is equal to 1 + ½ month’s rent (A.R.S. §33-1321(A)). A landlord may not ask for more than this. (So, for example, if the monthly rent is $1,000, then the most that the landlord may charge as a security deposit is $1,500, which is one month’s rent ($1,000) plus one-half of one month’s rent ($500).)
May a landlord charge a tenant more than this amount?
As long as it is stated explicitly in the rental agreement, a landlord may ask a tenant to “voluntarily” pay advance rent in any amount (for example, first and last month’s rent) before the tenant moves into the rental unit.
May part of a deposit (or fee) be non-refundable?
If any amount of a deposit or fee is intended by a landlord to be non-refundable at the end of a lease, this must be stated explicitly in the rental agreement, which must also include an explanation of the purpose of the non-refundable deposit or fee (A.R.S. §33-1321(B)). Any part of a deposit or fee that is not specifically designated as non-refundable is considered refundable.
What documents is a landlord required to give a new tenant at move-in?
When a new tenant moves into a rental unit, the landlord must give the tenant:
1. a signed copy of the lease or rental agreement
2. a move-in form on which the tenant can record any damage to the unit that already exists; and
3. written notification that the tenant may be present at a move-out inspection (A.R.S. §33-1321(C).
What may be deducted from a security deposit?
At the conclusion of the rental agreement, the landlord may deduct from the security deposit:
(a) any unpaid rent that the tenant still owes (subject to the landlord’s duty to mitigate future losses)
(b) the cost required to repair any damage caused to rental unit by the tenant beyond ordinary wear and tear
(c) other expenses incurred by the landlord due to the tenant’s failure to fulfill the tenant’s obligations (for example, the cost of removing from the rental unit and disposing of personal items left behind by the tenant), and/or
(d) any other charges that the rental agreement specifically allows the landlord to collect from the tenant (A.R.S. §33-1321(D)).
After the landlord has deducted these amounts (if any), the landlord must return all remaining money from the security deposit to the tenant.
How does a tenant recover a security deposit after moving out?
A tenant who intends to vacate a rental unit should either hand deliver or send by registered or certified mail a letter to the landlord providing written notice of the date on which the tenant plans to move out and also requesting a move-out inspection date so that the tenant may be present. At the end of this article there is a link to a “Notice of Intent to Vacate and Request for Move-Out Inspection Date” form that the tenant may use. The tenant should make and keep a copy of this letter.
When the tenant moves out (or a couple of days beforehand), the tenant should also either hand deliver or send by registered or certified mail a letter to the landlord requesting the return of the tenant’s security deposit and providing the tenant’s new address. At the end of this article there is a link to a “Request for Return of Security Deposit” form that the tenant may use. The tenant should make and keep a copy of this letter as well.
Within 14 days (excluding weekends and holidays) after the tenant has moved out and the landlord has received the tenant’s Request for Return of Security Deposit, the landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized list of all the charges (if any) that the landlord intends to deduct from the security deposit as well as the balance of the security deposit itself (A.R.S. §33-1321(D)). This list of deductions and any amount due must be sent by the landlord to the address identified in the tenant’s written request or to the tenant’s last known residence if no forwarding address was supplied.
the laundry room in our complex is filthy. Inside washers very dirty. Dryers need to be cleaned. Washer and Dryers are always breaking. Everyone complains but nothing is being done to remedy the situation.
I have filled a small claims against my former landlord for failure to return refundable deposits. The defendant has requested to the court that her property agent be placed as a co-defendant and property agent is willing to accept. Can we have that person removed as defendant when they are not named in Lawsuit?
What is considered "a reasonable amount of time" for repairs? We have had no hot water for 3 days and I sent my landlord the laws and he came back saying that they can turn off the hot water to make repairs & they aren't being "negligent" so we can't take action.
I was told I had to pay a "holding deposit" of $600 & sign a lease for a property that I needed to rent but was unable to do a walk thru in because the existing tenants were still occupying the property. I was told I could cancel at any time prior to my move in date 8/5/13; I cancelled on 7/20/13 & am being told I will not get any of my deposit back. What can I do?
Is the landlord obligated to provide pesticide treatment if the tenant reports that he found a few roaches. The pesticide treatment on the lease was left blank. The other items were checked on the lease.
can apartment manager send an unknown repair man in my apt if I am not home? It is necessary but not emergency. I did get 48 hrs notice..asked for another date she refused. I do not know this repair man..in the past we have had complaints of thief ..this is a HUD complex. I do not have a choice but to not be here as I am on jury call. Thank you
How can I break my lease if I can't fit my furniture in the apartment ?
If our garage broke, we could close it, and our property manager stated "their repair guy" could not come for 2 days and we had to secure the premises; we had to pay $350 for a repair man to JUST shut the door. 2 days later "their repairman" came and replaced the door. Now my landlord, per the property manager, is saying he will only give us $65 back since we didnt use "their repairman"! I have all of the emails as that is the ONLY way to speak with our property manager.
My apartment is partially furnished, a bed. The bed is used and very uncomfortable. The mattress is old. What can I do to get a new bed? Is it legal for my landlord to keep used mattresses in his units? Also, he says that if I buy a new mattress, I have to leave it there when I move out. The lease stipulates that I cannot remove or modify the existing furniture. So can he do this ?
We terminated our lease early. We gave them notice in writing. They have continued to stall getting the house rented to someone else. It was ready to be moved into at the first of the month and they won't even let a new tenant look at it until the 10th. I read that according to Ariz rev stat 33-1370 that a "landlord has a duty to find a new tenant". I'm having a problem finding that actual wording in the law. We are on the hook for rent until a new renter is found, but it seems they are preventing that.
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