Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: after an electrical fire, can the landlord be taken to civil court for not maintaining the property.

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, landlords are required to “maintain fit premises,” that is, to ensure that the dwellings that they rent out to tenants are kept in a clean and safe (or “habitable”) condition (A.R.S. 33-1324). Landlords must ensure that all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances are in good working order. Assuming that neither you nor one of your guests caused the electrical fire through any intentional or negligent act, if the fire has resulted in the dwelling no longer being “habitable,” and you wish to move out, you may deliver written notice to the landlord stating that if the fire-related problems are not fixed within 10 days (if they are serious) or 5 days (if they are materially affecting your health and safety), then the lease will be terminated (A.R.S. 13-1361). If the dwelling has been damaged or destroyed to such an extent that you simply cannot live there any longer, then you may vacate the premises immediately and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days thereafter of your intention to terminate your lease (which will apply retroactively to the date you moved out) (A.R.S. 33-1366). If you are able and wish to continue occupying the dwelling as a whole but can no longer use or access parts of it, then (after writing to the landlord) you may reduce your rent in proportion to the decrease in the fair rental value of the dwelling that has resulted from the fire. If the fire was caused by a failure on the part of the landlord to fulfill his/her obligation to properly maintain the dwelling, and you have suffered an injury (whether to your person or to your property) as a result, then you may be able to recover monetary damages from the landlord in a separate legal action in court.

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  • after an electrical fire, can the landlord be taken to civil court for not maintaining the property.

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