Landlord/Tenant Litigation: Know Your Rights
Did you know that as a renter in Arizona, or as a landlord to renters, you are entitled to certain rights? The Arizona real estate law protects both renters and landlords and covers everything from security deposits to what rules a landlord can create. Here is an overview of the rights of both renters and landlords in Arizona.
The Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act
If you are renting a unit in a residential living space such as an apartment or a house, this act applies to you. If you rent a mobile home, you are not covered by this act, but you are covered under the Arizona Mobile Home Parks Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act, renters are protected from some potential wrongdoings and have certain rights.
- Security deposits. According to the act, the maximum amount that a landlord can charge for a security deposit is one and a half months rent. This is in addition to the first month’s rent. However, the security deposit does not include charges for any cleaning or redecorating the rental unit.
- Moving in. Upon move in, a renter should be given the name and address of the property manager by the landlord. The landlord should also provide a move-in inspection form that documents any damages to the unit.
- Rent amount. A landlord cannot raise their rent with the sole purpose to retaliate against a renter for any reason, such as complaining about housing code violations or complaining about the property.
- Refunding security deposits. Upon moving out, a landlord must refund all or part of the renter’s security deposit within 14 days. If the landlord takes deductions for any reason, those reasons must be provided in an itemized list to the renter. If the landlord does not provide such a list, the renter can receive damages up to twice the amount of that which was wrongfully withheld.
- Inspections. If a landlord will be present during a move out for an inspection, they must give the renter written notice. However, if the renter is being evicted due to an agreement breach, the landlord has reasonable cause to do an inspection without prior notification.
- Unit maintenance. The landlord must provide a clean and habitable environment for the renters. The unit and premises must comply with building codes and should have running water, hot water, heating and air conditioning as required by the weather.
Landlords also have rights of their own under the Landlord and Tenant Act.
- Refusal to rent. Landlords are allowed to refuse to rent, as long as that refusal isn’t based on an invalid reason, such as race, color, sex, religion, handicap or familial status.
- Collecting rent. A landlord has the right to collect all reasonable charges which are specified in the rental agreement if the renter fails to pay rent on time. He or she must notify the renter in writing that they have 5 calendar days to pay their delinquent rent, or the rental agreement can be terminated. The written notice should be either hand delivered or mailed via certified or registered mail. Also, landlords do not have to accept partial payments. If they do decide to do so, they must get a written agreement which states when the remainder will be due, along with any other terms of the agreement. Without the agreement, the landlord waives his or her right to terminate the rental agreement for breach of payment terms.
- Creating rules. A landlord is allowed to create a new rule or regulation that applies to their renters. However, the new rules cannot be made with the purpose of evading the landlord’s duties. The new rules also require 30 days’ notice to the renters.
- Entering units. A landlord can enter a unit in order to make repairs or improvements to the unit as long as the renter is provided 2 days advance notice. If a notice is given, the renter cannot refuse to allow the landlord access to the unit. If there is an emergency, however, a landlord may enter without notice or consent.
- Unit maintenance. Just as landlords must maintain the premises, the renter is obligated to maintain the unit.
In Arizona, both renters and landlords are protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Each is entitled to their own rights, and should work together to create a harmonious living arrangement. If you are a renter or a landlord that is facing a possible agreement breach or anything else that doesn’t abide by this act, contact our Arizona Real Estate Lawyers for legal help.
Written By Bert Millett – Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.
Mesa Office: 1930 N. Arboleda, Suite 201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
40 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1400-1532
Phoenix, AZ 85004
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