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    Speak Up! - View Question #666

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    Question: Could you tell me where to find the rights of renters. I feel that the landlord is harassing my mom. What are her rights?

    Answer: Your mom does have renter’s rights. The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, along with city Landlord and Tenant laws that expand upon state laws, covers renter’s rights quite thoroughly.

    The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

    The Act, A.R.S. §§ 33-1301 to 33-1381, applies if you are renting a residential dwelling unit, i.e., a house or an apartment. If you rent a mobile home, you are covered by the Arizona Mobile Home Parks Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, A.R.S. §§ 33-1401 to 33-1491. The other major set of Landlord and Tenant laws, A.R.S. §§ 33-301 to 33-381, is designed primarily for commercial or real property landlord - tenant relationships.

    Are there any exceptions to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act?

    Yes, besides the types of leases mentioned above, A.R.S. § 33-1308 lists seven exceptions. These include such things as dorm rooms, fraternity or sorority houses, hotel rooms, and public housing.

    Can a landlord refuse to rent to someone?

    Landlords can refuse to rent as long as the refusal is not based on an improper reason. For example, landlords cannot refuse to rent to families with children (unless legally restricted) A.R.S. § 33-1317.

    National (Federal) and Arizona law also prohibit the refusal to rent to someone because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin. See 42 U.S.C. § 3604 for the federal statute and A.R.S. §§ 41-1491.14 and 41-1491.19 for the state statutes.

    What do tenants need to know about security deposits?

    The maximum amount that a security deposit can be is one and one-half months rent in addition to the first month's rent. A.R.S. § 33-1321(A). Security deposits do not include charges for cleaning or redecorating the unit. A.R.S. § 33-1310(14).

    Within fourteen business days after termination of tenancy, landlords must refund either all of the security deposit or the remainder of the security deposit after taking deductions. If deductions are taken, the landlord must also provide a written itemized list. A.R.S. § 33-1321(D). If the landlord fails to comply, then the tenant can receive damages in an amount equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld. A.R.S. § 33-1321(E). Landlords must also give written notification that the tenant may be present during the move-out inspection that will be used to determine itemized deductions from the deposit. A.R.S. § 33-1321(C). However, the landlord does not have to meet this requirement if he or she is evicting the tenant for a material and irreparable breach and he or she has reasonable cause to fear violence or intimidation by the tenant. A.R.S. § 33-1321(C).

    What must a landlord provide to a tenant upon move-in?

    • A landlord must disclose in writing the name and address of the property manager and the owner or owner's agent. A.R.S. § 33-1322(A).
    • Landlords must give notice that copies of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act are available for free from the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. A.R.S. § 33-1322(B).
    • Landlords must provide tenants with a move-in inspection form to record any existing damage to the residence. A.R.S. § 33-1321(C).
    • Landlords who rent property with access to a swimming pool must provide the tenant with a pool safety notice. A.R.S. § 36-1681(E).
    • Landlords are required by federal law to give notice of any lead-based paints on the premises. 42 U.S.C. § 4852d; 40 CFR § 745.107.

    What are a landlord's rights in collecting rents and setting rent amounts?

    If a tenant fails to pay rent promptly, the landlord may collect all reasonable charges specified in the rental agreement. A.R.S. § 33-1368(C). When tenants have fallen behind in their rent payments, landlords must notify the tenants that they have five calendar days in which to pay past due rent or the rental agreement will be terminated. A.R.S. § 33-1368(B). The notice must either be hand delivered to the tenant or sent to the tenant by certified or registered mail. A.R.S. § 33-1313(B).

    Landlords cannot raise the rent to specifically retaliate against a tenant for complaining about housing code violations, for joining a tenant union, or for complaining about failure to keep the dwelling fit. A.R.S. § 33-1381.

    Landlords don't have to accept partial rent payments. If they do without getting a written agreement stating when the remainder is due along with any other terms, they waive their rights to terminate the rental agreement for that particular breach of the rental agreement. A.R.S. § 33-1371.

    Can a landlord create rules and regulations that apply to tenants?

    Yes. Specific requirements to adopt such rules and regulations are set forth in A.R.S. § 33-1342(A). These rules cannot have the purpose of evading the landlord's obligations. New rules require 30 days' notice to existing tenants. A.R.S. § 33-1342(B).

    When can a landlord enter a tenant's residence?

    If a landlord provides two days' advance notice of his or her intent to enter the resident at a reasonable time to make repairs, alterations, decorations, or improvements, tenants can't unreasonably refuse to allow landlords into their residences. In case of emergency, however, landlords can enter without consent and without notice. Landlords are prohibited from abusing this right or using it to harass the tenant. A.R.S. § 33-1343.

    What obligation does a landlord have in maintaining the residence and premises?

    In general, landlords must provide safe, clean and habitable residences. Among other things, they must comply with building codes concerning health and safety (A.R.S. § 33-1324(A)(1)); maintain all appliances must be in working order (A.R.S. § 33-1324(A)(4)); and provide running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and heating and air-conditioning when required by the weather (A.R.S. § 33-1324(A)(6)). If a landlord fails to comply with his or her obligations, and the cost of compliance would have been $300.00 or less, the tenant may recover damages for the breach under A.R.S. § 33-1361(B) or may notify the landlord of the tenant's intention to correct the condition at the landlord's expense. A.R.S. § 33-1363(A). This process, called "self-help for minor defects," is outlined further in A.R.S. § 33-1363. If a landlord deliberately or negligently fails to provide water, gas or electrical services, a tenant has several remedies that are outlined in A.R.S. § 33-1364.

    What are a tenant's duties to a landlord?

    Tenants have a duty to maintain the dwelling unit. This includes such things as complying with applicable provisions of building codes, keeping his or her part of the unit clean, using appliances reasonably, and not deliberately or negligently destroying, damaging, or removing part of the premises. Tenants also should conduct themselves and and control their guests so as not to disturb the neighbors. A.R.S. § 33-321; A.R.S. § 33-1341.

    A tenant is held responsible for the actions of his or her guests that violate the rental agreement or rules and regulations of the landlord if the tenant could reasonably be expected to be aware that such actions might occur and did not attempt to prevent those actions to the best of his or her ability. A.R.S. § 33-1368(G). 

    What can a tenant do if a landlord breaks the rental agreement?

    If a landlord breaks the rental agreement, the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying what the landlord did or didn't do and that the rental agreement will end ten or more days after receipt of the notice if it is not fixed in ten days. A.R.S. § 33-1361(A). If it affects the health and safety of the tenant, he or she may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the details and that the rental agreement will terminate five or more days after receipt of the notice if it is not fixed within five days. A.R.S. § 33-1361(A).

    A tenant cannot withhold rent unless it is authorized. A.R.S. § 33-1368(B). Generally, the only time rent can be withheld is when the landlord has deliberately or negligently failed to supply running water, utilities, reasonable amounts of hot water, or heat, air-conditioning, etc. See A.R.S. § 33-1364 for the details of what the tenant can do in this situation.

    What can a landlord do if a tenant breaches the rental agreement?

    If a tenant fails to comply with the rental agreement, the landlord may deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying what the tenant did or didn't do and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than ten days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied in ten days. A.R.S. § 33-1368. This process is outlined further in A.R.S. § 33-1368.

    If the noncompliance with the rental agreement affects health and safety and the tenant either fails to comply as promptly as conditions require in emergency or within fourteen days after written notice by the landlord, the landlord can enter the residence and remedy it him or herself and add the reasonable cost of the work to the next rent payment. A.R.S. § 33-1369.

    Landlords cannot forcibly remove the tenant or or intentionally cut off essential services, including utilities, except as provided by the Statute. This is generally limited to situations when the tenant has abandoned the property or when the tenant has been evicted. A.R.S. § 33-1374.

    What are the rules for month-to-month rental agreements?

    If no time frame is established in the rental agreement, the agreement becomes a month-to-month agreement. A.R.S. § 33-1314(D). To terminate a month-to-month rental agreement, a landlord or a tenant must give 30 days notice in writing before the next rent payment would normally fall due. A.R.S. § 33-1375(B).

    Helpful Websites

    This information was adapted from the University of Arizona James E Rogers College of Law - Law Library website http://www.law.arizona.edu/Library/internet/publications/library/guides_legal/landlord_tenant.htm

    6 thru 10 of 17 comments     1  [ 2 ]  3   4    
    On 07/14/06
    Mark from AZ said:
    I also am felon looking for rental, being refused because of this CRIME FREE ZONE... I'm looking for help around this problem, and/or info on what my legal recourse may be... I believe we are being discriminated against. And forced to put ourselves back to a place we have worked so hard to put behind us...Help!!!
    On 06/30/06
    from AZ said:
    landlord claims she has right to evict a renter after five days with no further effort from renter
    On 06/22/06
    David from AZ said:
    What can I do about my landlord refusing to refund a transfer fee. They told me i wouldn't get it or my security deposit until after 21 days.
    On 06/09/06
    sam from NM said:
    I know that being disenfranchised by the "system" is going to be the ultimate test of your senses. I suggest you work hard not to commit another offense. All the best to you and your kids.
    On 03/26/06
    annette from AZ said:
    how can a x-felon ever again get a place to live when arizona made up this CRIME FREE ZONE and everywhere refuses to rent to felons? how can me and my kids survive without a home??? HELP!!
    6 thru 10 of 17 comments     1  [ 2 ]  3   4    

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