Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: For over a year my roommates and I have had a reoccurring mice problem. We keep areas clean, take out the trash regularly, and have never caused any sort of damage to our property. Our rental property will only put down traps and do not make any major effort to eradicate the problem with mice. How can we get them to move forward in paying for extermination and an expert to identify where the mice are coming in?

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. 33 Chapter 10), a landlord is required to “make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition” and to “comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety” (A.R.S. 33-1324). One of the conditions that Arizona law describes as “materially affecting health and safety” is “infestation of insects, vermin, or rodents” (A.R.S. 9-1303). As a general rule, the most effective way to encourage a landlord to fulfill the landlord’s legal obligations is by providing the landlord with written notice in the form of a signed and dated letter – delivered either by hand or by certified mail – describing the problem in detail and requesting that the landlord fix it as soon as possible (and in this case take more serious steps than merely laying traps, which has proven to be ineffective). It is also important to keep careful records of all correspondence and to document the problem itself (including by taking time- and location-stamped photos and/or video). If, after a reasonable period of time has passed since the landlord received this letter, the landlord still makes an inadequate effort to fix the problem, then, if the problem can be fixed for less than an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent, the tenant has the option of providing another written notice to the landlord informing the landlord that if no positive action is taken within ten days, the tenant will have the work done by a licensed contractor and, after submitting to the landlord an itemized statement and a waiver of lien, deduct from the tenant's rent the actual and reasonable cost of the work (A.R.S. 33-1363).

QUESTIONS

  • For over a year my roommates and I have had a reoccurring mice problem. We keep areas clean, take out the trash regularly, and have never caused any sort of damage to our property. Our rental property will only put down traps and do not make any major effort to eradicate the problem with mice. How can we get them to move forward in paying for extermination and an expert to identify where the mice are coming in?

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