Small Claims Court Process
What do you do if your landlord does not meet his or her obligations, or you disagree with the landlord's list of damages?
If your landlord does not provide you with an itemization of the charges against your security deposit within fourteen days, refuses to allow a move-out inspection where you may be present, or you disagree with the list of damages that the landlord claims you owe, you may FILE A CLAIM IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT.
In order to file a claim in small claims court, you must go to the Justice Court in the area in which your former apartment complex is located and obtain the proper forms from the clerk. The courts do charge a filing fee for bringing an action in small claims court, but this fee can be deferred if you can demonstrate that you lack the resources to pay the fee. Anyone who is eligible for Community Legal Services' assistance should be eligible for the fee deferral in small claims court. Ask the clerk for the fee deferral forms, and fill them out and return them to the court. The clerk should be able to explain the procedure for filing a claim in small claims court, and answer your questions concerning the paperwork required. A hearing will then be set where both sides will appear before the judge and tell their story.
What do you say at the hearing in small claims court, and what do you need to bring with you?
If your landlord failed to return your security deposit, and did not provide you with an itemization of any damages or other amounts owed:
If your landlord failed to return your security deposit, and did not provide you with an itemization of damages or other amounts owed, you are entitled to the return of your security deposit, PLUS twice the amount of your security deposit as damages. A.R.S. §33-1321(E). For example, assume your security deposit was $200, you would be entitled to your $200 security deposit back, plus $400 (which is 2 x $200, the amount of the security deposit). Therefore, the Court should enter judgment in your favor for $600.00.
When you go to court, tell the judge:
1. How much you paid as a security deposit. (Bring your lease or any receipts you may have to prove this.)
2. That you requested an itemization of the damages and other charges to be deducted from the security deposit. Bring a copy of the letter you mailed requesting the itemization. A sample letter "Request for Return of Security Deposit" is available in this article.
3. That your landlord never provided you with such an itemization, as required by Arizona law. (A.R.S. §33-1321(D))
4. That Arizona law provides that you may recover your security deposit, plus damages in an amount equal to twice your security deposit. The Arizona statute that provides for these damages is A.R.S. §33-1321 (included in this article). In addition, in its decision in Schaefer v. Murphey, included in this article, the Arizona Supreme Court interpreted this statute to allow the tenant to recover twice the amount of her security deposit as damages for the landlord's failure to supply her with an itemized statement of damages -- even though the tenant owed the landlord more than the amount of her security deposit for unpaid rent. A copy of this case is also included in this article. Be sure to show the judge both a copy of the statute, and a copy of the Murphey case.
If your landlord did not allow you to be present at a move-out inspection after your request that you be informed of when the move-out inspection would occur, and your landlord failed to return part or all of your security deposit:
When you go to court, tell the judge:
1. How much you paid as a security deposit. (Bring your lease to prove this.)
2. That you requested that your landlord conduct a move-out inspection, and that you be permitted to be present for the inspection. (Bring a copy of the letter you mailed requesting the inspection.)
3. That your landlord never responded to your request for a move-out inspection, as required by A.R.S. §33-1321(C).
4. That as a result, you have no way of defending yourself against your landlord's allegations of damages, and therefore, fairness dictates that your landlord should have to return your security deposit.
If you disagree with the charges that your landlord deducted from your security deposit:
If you disagree with the charges that your landlord deducted from your security deposit, you may sue your landlord in small claims court for the return of all or part of your security deposit. Your landlord will then have to prove that you are legally responsible for each of the charges identified. To counter your landlord's evidence, it would be helpful, if possible, for you to bring pictures of your apartment from before you moved out showing that the apartment was left in good condition, and witnesses who have been to your apartment and can tell the judge about its condition based upon personal experience.
Small Claims Court Process
My landlord claims they never got last months rent and gave me a notice of 5 days to vacate. it is not from the court just has their name on it. Is this legal??
I have sent a certified letter to my past landlord....what do I do if they dont reply within the 10 day period?
my landlord provided me with an itemized list, which i disputed. i sent my dispute letter certified mail and it's been over 30 days now, and i still havent heard back from them.
We have a dispute over the disposition of the deposit. The landlord has not responded in the last 30 days. Can I go for 2x the amount on this too? If so, it is over $2500.00 - so I need an attorney?
I am a landlord with a Phoenix rental condo. As a result of plumbing work done by the HOA in the wall between my unit and another, a minor flood was caused resulting in water damage to the floor and some of my tenants items. I am dealing with my insurance company to do repairs. In the meantime, my tenant has decided to withhold rent (for 2 months now). Is this allowed under the law?
How is my landlord notified I want to take then to court
Can my landlord show up at my home unannounced 5 times in one day, and can he force me to look up my pets because he is afraid of them. Then even bring his family over and say we have to lock up our pets after he agreed to let us have pets
I have rented a room in a house for the last 2 years. I have never had a lease or rules & regulations given to me either. Can my landlord tell me I can't have company over? Company is my kids, 41, 36 and 35
There have been issues with the water here at my apartments and due to this we have been having water leak from our fridge and rise up the toilet tub and sinks. The apartments have come out to "clear the pipes" a number of times but there is now water damage to the floor in the kitchen and when they came tp fix the floor they just reglued the fake wood down. What sjould we do?? I have renters insurance but i dont think i should have to pay for their pipes.
My house was burglarized and entry was gained through a broken window. I have contacted my landlord 48 ago, and have received no response. How long does she have to respond to making repairs?
I have a tenant in my home and they are moving out In September so I have decided to sell my home and put it on the market. They are refusing to let me do open houses, or have people come in and see the home. They said no one can enter not even when there home! I need to sell my home so by the time they leave it will have been sold hopefully. I cannot afford to house payments. I don't know what to do. My realtor has called them and ask to do showings when there home, and they refuse. I feel like there hiding something. Please help!
I have not recieved any reciepts of my rental payments. I have to put the money in the landlords bank account. When i asked for a print out of all rent payments that I have, the landlord refused my request. Is there anything I can do to legally have my rent reciept records? i know he can not pull a back statement of his to show my rent payments were deposited, but shouldnt he give me a reciept of payments by law? I have never recieved a reciept after depositing the money and I thought that was kind of fishy. Please help, Its for my records and finances.
can a landlord refuse to prorate if you have provided 30 day notice to vacate and were given permission to stay beyond lease just a few days or can they legally demand entire months rent (check already cleared) when they understand your intent to vacate premises within 5 days?
I the home owner. I had a management co. The renter tried to fix stuff on his own. EX. tub faucet was taken off and the pipe was caped off with looks like a lotion top. Internal parts of toilet was removed and not replaced. Just to name a few. The never contacted the company to have them fixed. The CO is now telling me stuff I can't charge for the renter for failing to have them so the repairs. They are also telling me that a plumber costs to much & she has a handy man that can do the job instead of the plumber. She is also said doors that have dents can be patched instead of a new door.
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State Bar of Arizona
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Referral number 602-257-4434
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Referral number 520-623-4625
National Domestic Violence Hotline
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