Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: I live in a rental home. The A/C went out, the owner was notified, as well as management company, it's been 6 days and still not fixed. I went and purchased on day 2, 3 fans and a portable A/C unit, I have lost alot of fruits, pantry items too! The heat has also caused my laptop to stop working and it's so hot in the house to cook, we have been purchasing fast food, can I legally demand reimbursement for these things from the owner ?

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (A.R.S. Title 33 Chapter 10), landlords are required (among other things) to “comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety,” which includes the provision of “adequate heating and cooling”; “make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition”; “maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances […] supplied or required to be supplied by him”; and “supply […] 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” (A.R.S. 33-1324). The following statements apply to a tenant who wishes to continue to live in the dwelling: If a landlord is not in compliance with A.R.S. 33-1324 (above) and the problem can be fixed for less than $300 or an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent – whichever is greater – then the tenant may deliver to the landlord a letter notifying the landlord of the tenant’s intention to fix the problem at the landlord’s expense (by having the work done by a licensed contractor and, after submitting to the landlord an itemized statement and a waiver of lien, deducting from the tenant’s next rent payment the actual and reasonable cost of the work) if the landlord fails to do so with ten days (A.R.S. 33-1363). If a landlord is not in compliance with A.R.S. 33-1324 through a *deliberate or negligent* failure to provide reasonable amounts of 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). 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 live in the dwelling has three options: Option One: The tenant may arrange for the required utilities on the tenant’s own (if such a thing is possible) 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. (It is important to remember that these last three options apply only if the landlord has acted either deliberately or negligently.) If you would like to discuss your specific situation with an attorney, there are links to free or low-cost legal assistance on this website, and the LegalLEARN Helpline toll-free telephone number is 1-866-637-5341.

QUESTIONS

  • I live in a rental home. The A/C went out, the owner was notified, as well as management company, it's been 6 days and still not fixed. I went and purchased on day 2, 3 fans and a portable A/C unit, I have lost alot of fruits, pantry items too! The heat has also caused my laptop to stop working and it's so hot in the house to cook, we have been purchasing fast food, can I legally demand reimbursement for these things from the owner ?

STORIES

  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS