Housing

questions & answers

Question: My house has rats and landlord hired an exterminator who laid bait under the wood floors and the rats died in the house. The house now smells putrid and my landlord refuses to hire someone to remove the rats. I don't know what to do, I can't even stay in my own house. Also after I read through our rental agreement I noticed that she has snuck in little clause stating that if I take any type of legal action towards her she has the right to evict me. Is any of this legal?!

Answer: Article 2, Section 33-1324 of the Landlord Tenant Act lays out the responsibilities of the Landlord to maintain the rental unit.
 A. The landlord shall: 1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety as prescribed in section 9-1303. 2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition. 3. Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition. 4. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him. 5. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal. 6. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, reasonable heat and reasonable air-conditioning or cooling where such units are installed and offered, when required by seasonal weather conditions, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air-conditioning, cooling or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
B. If the duty imposed by subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is greater than any duty imposed by any other paragraph of this section, the landlord's duty shall be determined by reference to that paragraph.
C. The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing, supported by adequate consideration, that the tenant perform the landlord 's duties specified in subsection A, paragraphs 5 and 6 of this section, and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations and remodeling, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith, not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section.
D. The landlord and tenant of any dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations or remodeling only if: 1. The agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration. 2. The work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section. 3. The agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.

Article 1 Section 33-1315 lists the clauses that are prohibited in a rental agreement.
A. A rental agreement shall not provide that the tenant does any of the following: 1. Agrees to waive or to forego rights or remedies under this chapter. 2. Agrees to pay the landlord's attorney fees, except an agreement in writing may provide that attorney fees may be awarded to the prevailing party in the event of court action and except that a prevailing party in a contested forcible detainer action is eligible to be awarded attorney fees pursuant to section 12-341.01 regardless of whether the rental agreement provides for such an award. 3. Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the costs connected therewith. 4. Agrees to waive or limit the tenant's right to summon or any other person's right to summon a peace officer or other emergency assistance in response to an emergency. 5. Agrees to payment of monetary penalties or otherwise penalizes the tenant for the tenant summoning or for any other person summoning a peace officer or other emergency assistance in response to an emergency.
B. A provision that is prohibited by subsection A of this section and that is included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord deliberately uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by the landlord to be prohibited, the tenant may recover actual damages sustained by the tenant and not more than two months' periodic rent.
C. This section does not limit the landlord's right to evict a tenant pursuant to section 33-1368.

For information on remedies for failing to comply with these conditions see Article 4 Section 33-1364 in the full text of the act.

 For the full text of the act, visit: http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/pdfs/community/Residential-Landlord-Tenant-Act.pdf.

 For general information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, see: https://www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/TenantRightsResponsibilities.pdf

QUESTIONS

  • My house has rats and landlord hired an exterminator who laid bait under the wood floors and the rats died in the house. The house now smells putrid and my landlord refuses to hire someone to remove the rats. I don't know what to do, I can't even stay in my own house. Also after I read through our rental agreement I noticed that she has snuck in little clause stating that if I take any type of legal action towards her she has the right to evict me. Is any of this legal?!

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