Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: I have been living in my rental house for 7 months. The plumbing in the kitchen and bathtub keeps backing up and The landlord has had the plumbers out seven times and still cannot fix the problem. The plumbers told us it was bad pipes and the landlord will not spend the money to fix them. So I cannot use my washer or dryer and when I take a shower I have to stand in the water that backs up. Is that grounds to be able to break my lease?

Answer: Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ARLTA), a landlord is required by law to “comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety”; “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 running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times . . .” (A.R.S. 33-1324). A tenant whose landlord is failing to meet the landlord’s obligations under A.R.S. 33-1324 is responsible first and foremost for providing the landlord with formal written notice of the problem – ideally in a signed and dated letter (keeping a copy for the tenant’s own records) – describing the problem in detail and requesting that the problem be fixed as soon as reasonably possible. The tenant must do this regardless of whether the tenant ultimately wants to continue to live in the dwelling or leave. If the tenant wishes to terminate the rental agreement if the landlord fails to make the requested repairs to a significant (what the law calls “material”) problem, then the tenant is permitted by the ARLTA to deliver a written notice to the landlord identifying the repairs that the landlord must make under A.R.S. 33-1324 and stating that the rental agreement will terminate 10 days after receipt of the notice if the repairs are not made within 10 days (A.R.S. 33-1361(A)). A tenant who wishes to terminate a rental agreement on these grounds should document carefully both the seriousness of the problem (with photographs or video and witnesses) and the tenant’s attempts to permit the landlord to fix it. If you would like legal advice, there are links to free and low-cost legal services on this website (at http://www.azlawhelp.org/accessToJustice).

QUESTIONS

  • I have been living in my rental house for 7 months. The plumbing in the kitchen and bathtub keeps backing up and The landlord has had the plumbers out seven times and still cannot fix the problem. The plumbers told us it was bad pipes and the landlord will not spend the money to fix them. So I cannot use my washer or dryer and when I take a shower I have to stand in the water that backs up. Is that grounds to be able to break my lease?

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