Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: The back sliding door in our rental home has a broken lock. I have requested repairs be done and the landlord said he would fix it but it has been over 6 months and it has still not been repaired. I do not feel safe in my home because I can not lock the door and someone could come in and harm me. What can I do to remedy this situation. Do I have any rights? Is this a health and safety issue? Is the landlord required to make sure the back door lock is in working condition?

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. Title 33 Chapter 10), a landlord is required (among other things) 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 is identified by Arizona law as “materially affecting health and safety” is the “lack of or improper operation of required ventilating equipment or broken or missing windows or doors that create a hazardous condition or a potential attraction to trespassers” (A.R.S. 9-1303(1)(e)). What this means is that – unless (in the case of a single-family dwelling) the landlord and the tenant made the decision (supported by adequate consideration) when they entered into the rental agreement that the tenant would perform specified repair and maintenance duties that otherwise would be the responsibility of the landlord – a landlord has a duty to ensure that all outside doors operate properly. When the tenant wishes to continue to reside in the dwelling but to have a problem fixed, the tenant must provide the landlord with formal written notice of the problem. If the landlord fails to fix the problem within a reasonable period of time and the problem can be fixed for less than either (a) $300 or (b) an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent (whichever is greater), then the tenant has the option of notifying the landlord of the tenant’s intention to fix the problem him/herself at the landlord’s expense. If the landlord receives written notice of the tenant’s intention to fix the problem, and still does nothing – either after 10 days or as soon as necessary in the case of an emergency – then the tenant may have the work done by a licensed contractor and, after submitting the bill (including an itemized statement of the work completed) to the landlord, deduct from his rent the actual and reasonable cost of the work from the tenant’s next rent payment (A.R.S. 33-1363). If you would like to speak with an attorney about this, there are links to organizations offering free or low-cost legal services on this website, and the LegalLEARN Helpline toll-free telephone number is 1-866-637-5341.

QUESTIONS

  • The back sliding door in our rental home has a broken lock. I have requested repairs be done and the landlord said he would fix it but it has been over 6 months and it has still not been repaired. I do not feel safe in my home because I can not lock the door and someone could come in and harm me. What can I do to remedy this situation. Do I have any rights? Is this a health and safety issue? Is the landlord required to make sure the back door lock is in working condition?

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