Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Article


The Landlord Tenant Relationship

Rights, Responsibilities, and Remedies

Arizona Landlord Tenant Law

The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ARLTA)is the law governing most private, residential, rental agreements. In other words, the ARLTA provides tenants and landlords with rights, obligations and remedies in the rental relationship. Copies of the ARLTA are available at the Secretary of State’s web site and Community Legal Services. If you are experiencing housing problems, contact a legal aid group in your area.

Protecting Your Rights

Keeping Receipts and Notices

The inability to prove the truth is the most common problem tenants face when issues arise in their relationships with landlords. In order to better protect your rights, keep copies of all payments and notices exchanged between your landlord and yourself. Additionally, require your landlord to put all agreements in a writing s/he signs and dates. If you anticipate a problem, try to get additional evidence, such as witnesses or photographs.

Eviction

Landlords may evict tenants for a variety of reasons, however, all eviction notices must be in writing. The amount of time a tenant has to either vacate the premises or fix the problem, if possible, is dependent upon the type of eviction. For example, if it is discovered you have an unauthorized pet, the landlord could give you 10 days to either vacate the premises or get rid of the pet. If the problem involves such things as criminal activity or threatening other residents or apartment staff, the required notice to vacate is 24 hours and there is no opportunity to fix the problem. Once an eviction notice is given, there is a very short period of time, sometimes as little as 2 days, before a trial may be held. If you receive an eviction notice, you are encouraged to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.

Obligations of Your Landlord

Security Deposits

Landlords may require tenants to pay a deposit when they begin renting. The security deposit cannot be more than one and a half times your monthly rent and must state in writing any deposits which are non-refundable.

Safe Environment

Landlords must provide several things in exchange for rental payments. One of the most basic and important requirements is that your landlord provide you and your family with a healthy and safe living environment. Your living environment includes your apartment or home, and any common areas the landlord owns and holds open to residents.

Things Your Landlord Must Provide

The law specifically states:

  • Your landlord must keep all appliances, which they supply, in working order.
  • Your landlord must provide you with a way to dispose of garbage.
  • Your landlord must make it possible for you to receive running water, including hot water.
  • Your landlord must supply everything they promised in the lease. They can only shut off your utilities in a few very limited situations.

If you rent a home, your landlord and yourself can agree that you will perform the maintenance on the property. You must, however, be given some consideration, such as being paid or having your rent reduced.

Repairs Costing Less Than ½ Month’s Rent or $300

If a rental unit is in need of minor repair(s), and the damage(s) were not caused by the tenant, tenant’s family or guests, the landlord will probably be responsible for making the repair(s). The law requires you first give your landlord written notice of the problem, stating the landlord has 10 days to make the repair(s). If the landlord fails to make the repair(s) after 10 days and the cost of the repair(s) will be less than the greater of ½ month’s rent or $300, you must hire a licensed contractor and get a lien release and either forward the bill to your landlord or pay for the repair yourself and deduct it from your next rental payment. A copy of the bill and the lien release must be included with your rent.

Breach of Lease for Failure to Repair

Occasionally damages to a rental unit, which are not caused by the tenant, tenant’s family or guests, may be severe enough to allow the tenant to cancel their lease agreement on the basis that the landlord failed to fulfill their obligations. Before seeking this remedy, however, you must be able to prove an important obligation was not kept and give your landlord a written notice. 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.

Failure to Supply Promised Utilities

In some rental relationships the landlord has exclusive control over utilities, including water, gas, electricity and air conditioning. In such situations, the landlord cannot fail to supply the promised utility(s). If your landlord violates this promise, you must first request in writing that your landlord supply the services. If the landlord does not supply the service(s), you can either:

  • Buy the service(s) yourself and deduct the cost from the rent;
  • Sue the landlord for the amount by which your home or apartment is reduced in value because of the lack of service(s);
  • Temporarily rent another place and not pay rent for the apartment that lacks service(s). In addition the tenant may then recover up to 25% of his daily rent if the substitute housing costs more than the daily rent he owed his landlord. Remember you must write to your landlord and tell them of the problem before you do any of these things, and it cannot be a problem caused by you, your family or a guest.

Obligations of the Tenant

Paying the Rent

If you plan to remain in possession, you must continue to pay rent even if your landlord is not living up to his or her end of the bargain. Not paying rent gives the appearance that you are trying to break the lease, and weakens any argument you may about improper actions by your landlord. It is hard to say you are not getting what you paid for if you did not pay.

Letting Your Landlord Enter Your House or Apartment

You must allow your landlord and his or her employees to enter your house or apartment if he or she notifies you in writing at least two days before they seek access. They cannot enter very early in the morning or at night. If there is an emergency, they don’t have to give you notice to enter. If your landlord violates these rules, you may sue and recover one month’s rent and either:

  • Get a court order to prevent your landlord from unreasonably entering or
  • Terminate your lease.

Information provided in this pamphlet is based on Arizona law as of May 2002.


Comments:

On 8/29/07
lucy said
I reside @ apts. my lease agreement states they are not liable for residents safety, security,ie fire, vandalism, defects in apt or the community and deny a trial by jury. is this lawful?

On 7/20/07
Nancy said
In our lease it states electricity provided. Does that mean we have to pay for it or is the landlord responsible for it?

On 6/29/07
Maria said
I live in an apt complex & have new Property manager.Jst recvd a "Maintenance Repair Cost" at my door that whn I submit a workorder all fees of repair wl be added to rent. Can they do this?

QUESTIONS

  • I rented my motorhome to a friend. Agreement was until June 1st 2017. On several occasions I reminded them they needed to move. After a few weeks I went to remind them again and they moved the motorhone without my permission. Aftet I found where they noved my motothome we both agreed one more week. After week was up I went to tell them tbey needed to move out tbey refused when I retur ed a week later they abanded my motorhome, removed my property that Was in the motorhome and left motorhome filthy. Please help what to I do.
  • My 2 daughters reside at clear creek apartments flagstaff...they pay 1250 a month for their apartment. In the amenities it list HEAT is one the items provided in the apartment. They have a THERMOSTAT SWITCH in the apartment. When they did their walk through they were instructed to turn on to be sure it was in working order it WASNOT they told management and have NOT RECEIVED ANY response. They have been told nothing about it. I have sent emails and placed phone calls to have no response. What can we do. They are freezing. Short of buying space heaters for every room and run the risk of fire
  • I am a senior and live in 202 HUD housing. Management just put notices up on my apartment building: "No Mask No Entry." Is my apartment building considered a Public Place/Setting according to the new Tucson/Pima County Ordinances regarding Face Coverings? If so, and I refuse to wear one technically I could be restricted access to my apartment.
  • I live in an upstairs apartment with my 4 children, whuch two of them are small babies 2 and 4 years old. My downstairs neighbor constantly complains that we are making dragging noises across the floor after 11pm. My children and I are not perfect. They need to move about our place and just simply live. We try very hard to keep the noise down. But recently she said she is going to the cops and management. I told her to go ahead we are not doing anything wrong. No parties, no guest. We're trying. Can we get evicted just because she makes something up?
  • my landlord let me out of the leasing contract in writing. we both parties agreed on. dated and have signatures. now she is claiming that we owe her rent and pursuing damages such cleaning and carpets not clean by a professional company. I do have recits and pictures that demonstrate the contrary.
  • Is a landlord required to provide you a copy of a move-out inspection list? I was provided one at the Move-In Inspection which I filled out. Now I just had the Move-Out Inspection and wasn't provided anything. what gives?
  • If I am a renter and get wind damage to my carport am I responsible for the repairs?
  • How much time does a landlord have to repair a heater in an apartment complex in the winter?
  • I am renting a home from a Out of state owner our lease states that rent is due on first of each month.Owner Has us send checks for rent to Wifes' Mother that lives about ten miles away.If we send check out in mail when is it considered sent.If its been stamped at post office around end of previous momth is it considered sent owner insists rent is due on 1st regardless of holidays weekends etc.. insists instead of mailing it out I have to run it to her mother which is out of way to from & from work.Do I have any legal backing as far as this is concerned hard to find info.
  • My lease expires on 5/31/16. I. I intended on renewing, however I received a Notice of Non Renewal requesting I vacate by 6/4/16. When I asked the landlord "why?", she stated that a reason is not necessary pursuant to law. Is this true? Can you provide me with the statute, please? I was not able to find it.

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