questions & answers
Question: A tree fell through my apartment for the third time in the 14 years i have lived there. This time there was damage to my personal property. Is my landlord responsible for replacing my property? She has known that this tree was dead for a long time.
Answer: The short answer is likely yes. The landlord has an obligation to maintain the common areas of the complex, and I presume the tree that fell into your apartment was in the common areas. Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 33-1324(A) and the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act are a good place to start your inquiry (found here: https://www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/sites/all/docs/civil-rights/fha/TenantRightsResponsibilities.pdf).
Under A.R.S. 33-1324(A)(3), a landlord has the obligation to "[k]eep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition." The only exception would be if you agreed in your lease somehow to maintain the common areas, which is not likely.
Under A.R.S. 33-1361, you have the right to either (1) give written notice and terminate the rental agreement if the landlord doesn't pay your damages under subsection A; or (2) recover damages for the landlord's failure to comply (failure to maintain the tree and the damage to your property) under subsection B.
If you intend to pursue the landlord, and intend to end the lease, you must give written notice under A.R.S. 33-1361. If you intend only to seek damages, you should give written notice first to give the landlord an opportunity to pay. If the landlord doesn't pay in a reasonable time (ten days), you can pursue the landlord in your local justice court (either small claims or civil depending on the amount). You can find your justice court that serves your address by entering your address at this website: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace/getdistrict.aspx
Please note that this is all general information, that I do not have sufficient specific information to provide you legal advice, and that there is no attorney-client relationship created by answering your question.
I wish you the best!
A tree fell through my apartment for the third time in the 14 years i have lived there. This time there was damage to my personal property. Is my landlord responsible for replacing my property? She has known that this tree was dead for a long time.
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