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 found a statute saying a victim of domestic violence can terminate lease without repercussion but my landlord won't accept. What do I do?
  • We have been without hot water for 1 week and 4 days and no gas for cooking for over 4months. when contacting the landlord I am told gas is a hoa issue and all townhouse owners are arguing over whose responsible to fixing the broken gas line. When asking about hot water and have called them 3 times last week and also texted a few times and told on phone the will look into it and call me back and so far nothing. Text messages go unanswered and this is how the landlord wants to communicate with us. what are my rights as a tenant. This is all included in my rent..
  • My roommate flaked out on me and I need to pay a termination fee for the apartment. We are both signed on the lease but I need to know if my roommate is also responsible to split the termination fee and if so, what if my roommate refuses? Will she be responsible for paying her part? The termination fee is four months of rent and I am able to pay two (half) of the overall fee. My landlords said if she won't pay her part, it will be sent to collections and they will also require me to pay the remaining balance if she doesn't.
  • Can a property manager refuse payment if it is on time?
  • I rented an apartment that is totaly infested with roaches landlord sprays for roaches which brings out even more. They r on all living room furniture, ceilings, bed. I have asthma and this is really affecting my health
  • I have a tenant in my home and they are moving out In September when there lease is up, so I have decided to sell my home and put it up on the market wirh my realtor. I have informed them of what Im going to do. My realtor has called me and informed me that my tenants will not allow her to do open house, or have realtors comevin and show the house. They said no one allowed in the home! My realtor stated that she can do this when one of the tenants is home and they still said no! I can't wait for them to move out because I cannot afford 2 mortgages, so this house needs ve showned. What can I do
  • I have just finished a 1 year lease at my current apartment community on November 25th. It's now December 16th and I must break my lease due to family emergency and no financial resources available. Is there anyway I can retrack my lease since the new lease has been in effect for less than 30 days?
  • My toilet and shower are both not in working condition. Water is coming up out of the drain in my shower and my toilet ng is unable to flush. Is there a time limit for which the complex has to fix it? What do they have to do until they do fix it? What are my rights?
  • I am a landlord and my tenant(s) failed to pay their water bill in time. The water company should have shut off their water once the bill was overdue by 30 days but because the tenant(s) had children they decided to leave the water on for an extended period. The tenants moved out and never paid the bill and now the water company claims that I have to pay the bill because I am the landowner. I live in Mayer, Arizona and I question the legality
  • We put a maintenance request in over a year ago about a leaking skylight. The property manager has yet to fix it. It is getting worse and growing mold now. I put in a new maintenance request over the weekend and have yet to hear from anyone. Is this something that I can withhold rent for until it is fixed or should I hire someone to fix it myself? I do have proof of the original maintenance request dated 4/19/2019 as well as the one I just put in. I don't know how they expect me to pay $1500 dollars for a home with a leak and mold that they won't fix.

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