questions & answers
Question: My apt complex rented me a place that has black mold growing inside the walls and they are giving me a hard time about doing anything my neighbor has pictures showing the black mold from last March and they wont see them or do anything about it. What can I do. Can I break my lease do to unhealthy living conditions. can I sue them
Answer: According to the Landlord Tenant Act (Title 33, Chapter 10, Article 2, Section 33-1324):
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.
Penalties for failure to maintain services are outlined in Article 4 Section 33-1364:
A. If contrary to the rental agreement or section 3 3- 1324 the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to supply running water, gas or electrical service, or both if applicable, and reasonable amounts of hot water or heat, air-conditioning or cooling, where such units are installed and offered, or essential services, the tenant may give reasonable notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may do one of the following:
1. Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat and essential services during the period of the landlord's noncompliance and deduct their actual reasonable cost from the rent. If the landlord has failed to provide any of the utility services specified in this section due to nonpayment of the landlord's utility bill for the premises, and if there is no separate utility meter for each tenant in the premises such that the tenant could avoid a utility shutoff by arranging to have services transferred to the tenant's name, the tenant may either individually or collectively with other tenants arrange with the utility company to pay the utility bill after written notice to the landlord of the tenant' s intent to do so. With the utility company's approval the tenant or tenants may pay the landlord's delinquent utility bill and deduct from any rent owed to the landlord the actual cost of the payment the tenant made to restore utility services. The tenant or tenants may continue to make such payments to the utility company until the landlord has provided adequate assurances to the tenant that the above utility services will be maintained.
2. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.
3. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord's noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance. In the event the periodic cost of such substitute housing exceeds the amount of the periodic rent, upon delivery by tenant of proof of payment for such substitute housing, tenant may recover from landlord such excess costs up to an amount not to exceed twenty-five per cent of the periodic rent which has been excused pursuant to this paragraph.
B. A landlord shall provide all utilities and services specified in the lease agreement.
C. A landlord shall not terminate utility services as specified in subsection A of this section which are provided to the tenant as part of the rental agreement, except as necessary to make needed repairs or as provided in section 33-1368. Subsequent to the execution of the rental agreement, a landlord may not transfer the responsibility for payment of such utility services to the tenant without the tenant's written consent.
D. If a landlord is in violation of subsection C of this section, the tenant may recover damages, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees and obtain injunctive relief. Nothing in this section shall preclude a tenant’s right to recover damages as specified in section 33-1367.
E. A lease agreement shall not contain any terms contrary to this section.
F. In addition to the remedy provided in paragraph 3 of subsection A of this section, in the event the land lord’s noncompliance is deliberate, the tenant may recover the actual and reasonable cost or fair and reasonable value of the substitute housing not in excess of an amount equal to the periodic rent.
G. If the tenant proceeds under this section, he may not proceed under section 33-1361 or section 33-136 3 as to that breach, except as to damages which occur prior to the tenant proceeding under subsection A or B of this section.
H. The rights under this section do not arise until the tenant has given notice to the landlord and such rights do not include the right to repair. Such rights do not arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent For the full text of the Landlord Tenant Act: http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/pdfs/community/Residential-Landlord-Tenant-Act.pdf For a summary of the rights and responsibilities of residents: https://www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/TenantRightsResponsibilities.pdf
My apt complex rented me a place that has black mold growing inside the walls and they are giving me a hard time about doing anything my neighbor has pictures showing the black mold from last March and they wont see them or do anything about it. What can I do. Can I break my lease do to unhealthy living conditions. can I sue them
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