Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: My water heater broke and it took me about 2 hours to even reach my landlord. After having no emergency fire company come out she finally sent someone . It is a Thursday and I do not have any source of hot water and I am being told it won't be fixed until Monday which is 5 days without hot running water. Is this legal in Arizona ?

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. Title 33 Chapter 10), if a landlord fails to supply running water, gas and/or electrical service, or fails to provide reasonable amounts of hot water, heat, cooling, or air-conditioning (where such units are installed and offered), or any other essential service, then the tenant may provide written notice to the landlord identifying the problem and informing the landlord that the landlord is in breach of the rental agreement (A.R.S. § 33-1364). Sending this formal signed and dated letter to landlord – ideally delivered either by hand or by certified mail – is an important first step. If, after what Arizona law describes only as “reasonable notice,” the landlord still has not restored the essential service, then a tenant who wishes to continue to reside in the dwelling has three options: Option One: The tenant may arrange for the required utilities on the tenant’s own and deduct the cost of those utilities from the tenant’s next monthly rent payment. Option Two: The tenant may file a claim in court to recover damages based on the decreased fair rental value of the dwelling during the period in which the essential service was absent. Option Three: The tenant may find “reasonable substitute housing” (an inexpensive motel, for example) until the landlord restores the essential service. What this means is that when the tenant pays his/her rent for the following month, the tenant may pay a “prorated” amount. (So, for example, if the monthly rent is $900 (or $30/day), and the tenant is forced to stay in a motel for 5 days, then the tenant may reduce the next month’s rent payment by $150.) If the cost of this substitute housing exceeds the amount of the tenant’s rent for the period, then the tenant also may recover up to 25% (but no more) of the additional expense from the landlord. Under Arizona law, both landlords and tenants must operate in “good faith” whenever they perform or seek to enforce their rights and responsibilities under a rental agreement (A.R.S. 33-1311), so a tenant should never exercise one of the options above without (1) having a solid and documented (provable) reason for doing so and (2) first giving the landlord as much notice as possible so that the landlord has a reasonable period of time in which to fix the problem.

QUESTIONS

  • My water heater broke and it took me about 2 hours to even reach my landlord. After having no emergency fire company come out she finally sent someone . It is a Thursday and I do not have any source of hot water and I am being told it won't be fixed until Monday which is 5 days without hot running water. Is this legal in Arizona ?

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