This excerpt is provided as a general, unofficial, lay person’s guide to the law, and in no way may be construed as legal advice.
**The Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act is found in Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 33-1301 through 1381. The provisions regarding security deposits is Section 33-1321, which reads in full:
A landlord shall not demand or receive security, however denominated, including, but not limited to, prepaid rent in an amount or value in excess of one and one-half month's rent. This subsection does not prohibit a tenant from voluntarily paying more than one and one-half month's rent in advance.
Cleaning and redecorating deposits, if nonrefundable, must be so stated in writing by the landlord.
Upon termination of the tenancy, property or money held by the landlord as prepaid rent and security may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with Section 33-1341 all as itemized by the landlord in a written notice delivered to the tenant together with the amount due within fourteen days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession and demand by the tenant.
If the landlord fails to comply with subsections B and C of this section the tenant may recover the property and money due him together with damages in an amount equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld.
This section does not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this chapter.
The holder of the landlord's interest in the premises at the time of the termination of the tenancy is bound by this section.
The Rights and Obligations of Landlords
I. General Matters
a) As a landlord, you can collect and receive rent in a timely manner.
b) You can establish rules and regulations which are reasonable, fair and explicit -- and which are applied uniformly to all tenants.
c) You must rent to families with children unless the rental dwelling is in a subdivision or area which is restricted to adults only (by formal deed restrictions) or which qualifies as housing for older persons, under the Fair Housing Act.
d) You cannot refuse to rent to someone because of his/her race, sex or disability.
e) You can withhold part or all of a security deposit if the tenant owes you rent or other reasonable charges. You must provide the tenant with written itemization of any damage costs.
f) All deposits you receive from renters are refundable unless otherwise stated in writing.
II. Rental Agreements and You
a) Rental agreements can usually be oral or written for rental periods of 12 months or less, but if your tenant is renting for longer than 12 months, the agreement must be in writing. You must give the tenant a signed copy of the agreement with all blank spaces filled in.
b) If you and the tenant do not formally establish how long the rental agreement will last, then it becomes a month-to-month agreement, and rent is due to you on the first day of each month.
c) If your tenant fails to pay the rent on time, you can collect all reasonable charges specified in the rental agreement.
d) You can raise the amount of the rent after the full-term of any rental agreement has expired. If the tenant is renting month-to-month, you can raise the rent only after providing one full month's advance notice to the tenant. Rent can also be raised during the term of a lease to add any increase in the transaction privilege tax or other increase specifically provided for in your rental agreement with the tenant.
III. Condition of the Premises
a) Your rental dwelling must be safe, clean and habitable. Any appliances provided by you must be in good working order.
b) You must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water to your tenant(s). You also must supply reasonable heating and cooling if heating and cooling units are installed in the dwelling and you offered them as part of the rental arrangement with the tenant. You must supply gas or electric utilities service.
c) You can enter the premises to inspect, make repairs, alterations, decorations or improvements at reasonable times, if you provide at least two days' advance notice to the tenant.
d) In case of emergency, you can enter the premises without the tenant's consent.
IV. Your Conduct
a) You must enforce the rules and regulations involving your rental property uniformly and fairly for all your tenants. New rules or regulations require 30-days notice to existing tenants.
b) You have the right to require your tenant(s), their families and guests to act in a way which does not disturb others.
c) You must be truthful concerning condition of premises, availability, future changes, etc.
V. Ending the Rental Relationship
a) When there is no dispute about rent being due:
If your tenants are renting month-to-month, you must give them at least 30 days notice -- in writing -- before the next rent payment would normally fall due.
You must allow tenants to be present during move-out inspection.
b) When tenants have fallen behind in their rent payments:
You must notify your tenants, in writing, that they have five calendar days in which to pay their past due rent, or your rental agreement with them will be terminated, and they will be evicted. You can give them the written notice any time the rent is past due.
You must either hand-deliver the five day notice to the tenants, or send it to them by certified or registered mail.
If you send the notice by certified or registered mail, it will be considered received on the date the tenant signs for it, or five days after you mailed it, whichever occurs first.
VI. Things You're Not Allowed To Do
a) You cannot keep tenants' belongings in place of rent money they may owe you.
b) You cannot lock tenants out of the rental dwelling (or intentionally cut off electric/gas/water or other essential services) until one day after an eviction order (called a Writ of Restitution) signed by the court has been served on the tenant(s).
c) You 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 your failure to keep the dwelling fit.
The Rights and Obligations of Tenants
VII. General Matters
a) You must pay the rent by the date it is due, and you have the right to obtain a receipt from the landlord.
b) Any security deposit and/or advance rent required from you by the landlord cannot exceed 150 percent of one month's rent. However, you can voluntarily pay more than one-and-one-half month's rent in advance.
c) You can get back the balance of any refundable security deposit within 14 business days after your rental agreement with the landlord has been terminated. However, the landlord may deduct any rent or other reasonable charges (which must be itemized in a written statement) from your security deposit.
d) Any redecorating or clean-up deposits which you pay are also returnable to you unless your rental agreement with the landlord states otherwise.
VIII. Rental Agreements and You
a) All blank spaces in a written rental agreement must be filled in, and you must receive a signed copy.
b) The agreement should indicate whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for paying specific utility bills.
c) Rental agreements remain in effect unless:
the landlord or tenant violates the conditions of the agreement, and proper notice is given to either party by the other;
both you and the landlord agree to end the agreement; or
either you or the landlord gives the other party proper notice that the agreement will be terminated.
d) Your landlord cannot raise your rent, except:
when the full term of any written rental agreement has expired;
after providing you with at least one month advance notice, in the case of a month-to-month agreement;
when a written rental agreement specifically provides for increases in the amount of your rent; or
when a transaction privilege tax on residential property is increased.
IX. Condition of the Premises
a) You must keep the rental premises as clean and safe as the condition of the dwelling permits.
b) You must dispose of all garbage, rubbish and other wastes in a clean and safe manner.
c) You must keep all plumbing fixtures clean, and use appliances and supplied utilities in a reasonable manner.
d) You must allow the landlord to enter the rental premises for repairs/inspections at reasonable times, after the landlord has given you at least two days advance notice.
e) In an emergency, the landlord can enter without your consent.
X. Your Conduct
a) You must not damage or destroy any part of the rental premises.
b) You are responsible for the actions of your guests.
c) You are entitled to privacy and peaceful use of the premises. You must not act in a way which disturbs neighbors.
d) You must promptly return all keys to the landlord when you move out.
e) You must be truthful about information concerning occupants, pets, income, employment or criminal history.
XI. Ending the Rental Relationship
a) When there is no dispute about rent being due:
If you are renting month-to-month, you must provide the landlord with written notice -- at least 30 days before your next payment would be due -- that you will be terminating the rental agreement.
If you are renting for a longer period you still may be required to provide the landlord with written notice of your intent to terminate the rental agreement. Carefully read the terms of any agreement to see what requirements apply to you.
b) If you have fallen behind in your rent payments:
You can stay in the rental dwelling if you pay any past due rent and late charges within five calendar days of being given legal notice by the landlord of possible termination of your rental agreement.
If, after your landlord files suit against you, but before a judge issues a ruling, you pay the rent, late charges, court costs and reasonable attorney fees, you also can stay in the rental dwelling. Your landlord cannot force you to move out unless a judge grants an order for your eviction (called a Writ of Restitution), and the order is served on you (usually by a sheriff or constable). If judgment is in favor of the landlord in a special detainer case, the landlord has sole discretion regarding the reinstatement of the rental agreement.
If your landlord accepts a partial payment of the rent you owe, the landlord still may have the right to evict you unless you have a written agreement that allows you to stay.
You can be held liable for two months rent (or twice the amount of any damages you caused) after your rental agreement with your landlord is terminated if it is found that you willfully failed to act in good faith, according to the terms of your rental agreement.
XII. Remedies Available to You
You may be entitled to two months free rent (or twice the amount of damages you may have suffered) if your landlord wrongfully locks you out of the dwelling or intentionally cuts off essential services.
PROCEDURES FOR INITIATING A FORCIBLE DETAINER ACTION
A.Type of Forcible Detainer
Please notify this office prior to filing as to the type of eviction you are filing the following:
1.Immediate Termination (Eviction for criminal activity, severe property damage, etc.)
a.You must speak with an attorney
b.The notice must specify the conduct which is grounds for immediate eviction in detail, including dates, times and the nature of the incident. c.You must have witnesses with personal knowledge of the incident who are willing to appear in court and testify on behalf of management. Written statements from witnesses are not usable in court. d.Security guard logs and police reports may also not be acceptable as evidence. Be prepared with names, addresses and/or badge numbers if subpoenas are necessary. e.Do not make comments to tenant such as “I will have you out in a few days” or “You better leave or I will take you to court”. These statements could be used against you at the court hearing. Simply serve the notice and wait for your day in court. f.If rent is owed when the immediate eviction is in process, and tenant attempts to tender rent, DO NOT ACCEPT IT. Acceptance of rent during this time could jeopardize the eviction and allow the tenant to remain in the property.
2.Non-Compliance Eviction (10-day or 5-day Health and Safety)
a.As with an Immediate Termination, you must have witnesses with personal knowledge of the problems appears and testify at court. Before and after pictures, if applicable, may also be necessary to make your case. b.Once the noncompliance notice has been served, if rent is offered DO NOT ACCEPT IT unless the non-compliance breach has been cured. Acceptance of rent could jeopardize your eviction should the tenant not cure the breach of lease. c.Make sure your notice clearly details the alleged violation – dates, what happened, etc. The notice must tell the tenant what violation they are being accused of.
3.Non-Payment of Rent
a.Your notice must be dated and signed by the individual serving the notice. If the notice was mailed, eviction cannot be started until ten days after date mailed, or five days after the tenant signed for the mail. b.Notice should include all amounts owed by the tenant, including any balance (or credit balance), utilities or damages, where applicable, and any late charges and rent concessions that have been given. Fees for service of the notice or other charges such as deposits, etc. cannot be charged unless it is part of your lease agreement. c.If the tenant attempts to tender a partial payment of the rent that is due, DO NOT ACCEPT IT without having the tenant sign a Partial Payment Waiver agreement. Failure to have the tenant sign this waiver could cause you to lose your right to the remaining rent owed by the tenant for that rental period and your right to proceed with an eviction. d.After the court date is set, a copy of your five-day notice must be given. The courts also require a complete copy of your lease agreement in order to award all late charges and attorney fees.
1.At the hearing date, a Judgment will be entered if your tenant does not appear or if your tenant does appear and stipulates the Judgment. The attorneys who appear on your behalf do not make deals with your tenants without your approval, nor do the attorneys assure your tenants that if they pay the Judgment, they will be able to remain in the premises. Any payment arrangements are referred back to you. You do not have to reinstate the lease and accept payment, despite what the tenant tells. It is your choice. Any acceptance of money must accompany a written agreement signed by the tenant indicating whether you are reinstating the lease or just paying on the judgment.
2.Should your tenant appear and plead not guilty, a trial will be held. This may occur at a different date and time, but increasingly the Judges are hearing trials at the same time as the initial hearing. Therefore, if you think that your tenant may come to court and attempt to raise ANY issues regarding their nonpayment, you should plan to be at court. Please remember that we can not win a trial if there are no witnesses at court. This includes the management as a witness to the amount owed and the delivery of the notice.
3.The Judgment will require your tenant to vacate five days after court (or 12 – 24 hours in the case of an immediate eviction). If the tenant pays, or makes suitable arrangements to stay, you must file a Satisfaction of the Judgment. If the tenant does not make arrangements and does not vacate, you will need to file a Writ of Restitution. Writs are not filed automatically.
4.After the tenant vacates, apply the deposits to the tenant’s account, including the Judgment where necessary. This must be done within fourteen (14) business days after tenant vacates the premises. If the deposits are applied to the Judgment, you must file a full or partial Satisfaction of the Judgment as soon as the amounts are applied. You may charge the tenant for the rest of the lease until you get it re-rented, any lease break fees in the contract, damages to the unit (include a copy of the receipts for the repairs), and any other costs you incur (including utilities, pool or yard service but only if the lease provides that the tenant is liable for these sums. You must return all sums you are not entitled to prior to the fourteen business days or you risk being liable for three times the amount. Send the itemization and/or the funds certified mail to the last known address.
1.Discrimination issues continue to be a hot topic. Be careful about statements made upon refusal to leave—do not mention number of children, number of residents, or how many to a bedroom unless you seek legal advice first. 2.If you receive money from your tenant after court and you do not wish to have the tenant continue to reside at your rental property, DO NOT GIVE A RENT RECEIPT. Give or send the tenant a letter stating the money is being applied to the debt owed you, you are not reinstating tenant’s lease agreement, and the tenant must vacate per the court order. 3.REMEMBER, you can only legally serve written notices one of two ways: 1) personally give the notice to the tenant or 2) send the notice by certified or registered mail. The notice is legally served five (5) days after mailing or when the tenant signs for his notice, whichever occurs first. If you deliver the notice to the door, you may risk having the eviction dismissed if the tenant denies receiving the notice.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO TERMINATE RENTAL AGREEMENT FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT
(FIVE DAY NOTICE)
To: _______________________________ Date: ____________________________
& Any/All Occupants
Please be advised that the filing of a lawsuit against you for Forcible Detainer by _____________________ (owner/management) is imminent because you have been in arrears on the payment of your rent for the above named premises since ___________________________ in the amount of $ _________________________. As provided in your rental agreement, this sum includes late charges of $ _____________ per _____________, which will continue to accrue at that rate.
If legal action is instituted, not only is it likely that the court will award Judgment to the owner/management company for the above sum and order that you vacate the premise, but it is likely that you will be ordered to pay all court costs, attorney fees, and rental concessions.
We would like to give you an opportunity to resolve this matter prior to the initiation of legal action, it will save all involved time, energy and money. To do so, you must contact your property manager immediately and deliver the full sum due.
Absent the above action, be advised that, pursuant to A.R.S. SEC. 12-1171(A)(1), it is hereby demanded that you surrender the above-described premises forthwith. If you have not complied with the demand for possession on the fifth (5th) day after notice herein, you will be deemed by law to be in forcible detainer.
Further, pursuant to A.R.S. SEC. 33-1368(B), you are hereby notified that each day your rent continues to be delinquent, within a minimum of five (5) days from the date hereof, will, without further act or notice by management, result in the immediate termination of your rental agreement as of this date: _____________________________, or five (5) days after receipt of this notice. Management expressly does not waive the right to bring an action against you for all unpaid rent from the date of your vacating the premises until such time as the property is re-rented or your fixed term lease expires, whichever comes first. You are given notice herein that you shall be liable for said sums.
If you fail to pay the aforesaid sums, plus any additional late charges, within the time specified herein and continue to occupy the premises past the termination date, legal action will be brought against you for eviction and recovery of possession, monetary damages, reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Furthermore, if your occupancy beyond the termination date is intentional, then pursuant to A.R.S. SEC. 33-1375, as amended, you may also be subject to additional damages equal to twice your monthly rent or twice management’s actual damages, whichever is greater. Please be further advised that your deposit may not be used for rent. Pursuant to A.R.S. SEC. 33-1321, the deposit or an itemization of damages will be sent to you at your forwarding address within fourteen (14) business days of your vacating the premises and return of all keys. The premises must be left in a clean and undamaged condition.
You are liable for the full term if your lease and will be held to the full term of your lease or until the premises are re-rented. If you are on a month-to-month tenancy, then you are liable for all unpaid rent from the date you vacate the property and an additional thirty day period or the re-rent date, whichever comes first. Furthermore, you are also liable for any lease break fees and rental concessions.
( ) Hand Delivered this date: _______________________________
( ) Certified Mail this date: ________________________________
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL ACCESS
& ANY/ALL OCCUPANTS
PURSUANT TO A.R.S SEC. 33-1343, your rental unit will be entered and inspected on the following date:_________________ between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., or as specified below, which is at least 48 hours from notice date and time.
Should this create an inconvenience, please contact management immediately. Failure to allow access may result in the termination of your lease and an action for possession to be immediately commenced, pursuant to A.R.S. sec. 33-1376, without further notice to you.
( ) Hand Delivered this ______ day of ________________, 20___
( ) Certified Mailed this______ day of ________________, 20___
COUNTRY CLUB TRANSPONDER
New access cards will be required on each vehicle of residents wishing to have rapid access to the Country Club, per numerous resident communications. These cards will replace the current transponders, which will no longer provide access to the community effective January 31, 2008. The new cards do not have batteries; therefore they should last the life of the vehicle. The cost of the card and installation is $20 per vehicle through October, 31, 2007. Thereafter the cost will be $25 per vehicle.
The following steps are required to obtain a new transponder:
1. Complete a transponder form for each vehicle. Include a check or money order for the total amount due, payable to The Anthem Country Club Association. One check or money order can be written to cover multiple vehicles. You can either mail the form/s and check/money order to the HOA or bring them with you when you arrive for transponder installation.
2. Physically bring each vehicle to the HOA for transponder installation. Transponders will not be mailed. The HOA is located at 3701 W Anthem Way, Suite 102 (behind Safeway), 623-742-6050. Transponders are being installed in the east parking lot (back of building). IN ORDER TO GET THE CARD INSTALLED THE PERSON LISTED AS THE DRIVER MUST APPEAR IN PERSON WITH PICTURE IDENTIFICATION. THE DRIVER NAME ON THE FORM SHOULD BE LAST NAME, FOLLOWED BY THE FIRST NAME.
You do not need an appointment; gate pass installation will be held daily from 8:00 a.m. to noon Monday - Saturday until January 31, 2008. After that date, installation will be by appointment only. Please call the HOA office at 623-742-6050.
Those homeowners whose assessments are not current will not be able to get access cards nor will the residents have access to the call boxes. The residents will have to enter through the manned gates, as will their guests and vendors.
If you would like to access the Quick Pass Rapid Access System (QPRAS), the Quick Pass Start Guide will be helpful.
We realize residents have many questions regarding the transponder installation, therefore an FAQ document has been created to answer these questions. If you require any additional assistance (please read the FAQ document, as most questions can be answered from this document) contact the HOA at 623-742-4530 or via Email .
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.
Landlord Liability for Tenants' Dogs
One of the reasons landlords are reluctant to rent to tenants with pets is that in some circumstances, a landlord may be financially responsible for damage or injury caused by a tenant's dog. In other words, if the injured person sues the landlord, the landlord, as well as the dog's owner, may end up paying. Tenants must be prepared to deal with the landlord's fear of liability.
In most circumstances, a landlord isn't liable for injuries inflicted by a tenant's dog. Just leasing premises to a tenant with a dog usually isn't enough, by itself, to make a landlord legally responsible for a tenant's dog. For example, if a tenant's apparently friendly dog bites someone, the landlord isn't liable for the injury.
In general, when a tenant's dog injures someone, courts hold the landlord liable only if the landlord:
knew the dog was dangerous and could have had the dog removed; or
"harbored" or "kept" the tenant's dog - that is, cared for or had some control over the dog.
These factors are discussed just below. They apply to homeowners' associations, which control common areas in their developments, as well as traditional landlords.
If a landlord is found financially liable, the liability coverage of the building owner's insurance may cover the loss. (Liability insurance is discussed in Dog Bites.)
Knowing About and Having Power to Remove the Dog
In many states, someone trying to hold a landlord liable for injuries caused by a tenant's dog must prove both that the landlord knew that dog was dangerous and that the landlord had the power, legally, to make the tenant get rid of the dog or move out.35 Sometimes, courts put this requirement in terms of the landlord's general duty to keep the property in a safe condition.36 As one court put it, a property owner cannot "sit idly by in the face of the known danger to others."
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SECURITY DEPOSITS
Most landlords require the payment of a security deposit when you rent an apartment . **The Arizona Residential Landlord/Tenant Act governs the payment and return of security deposits. Know your rights before you sign the lease!
BEFORE YOU SIGN THE LEASE
Landlords usually ask for a security deposit at the time the lease is signed. You may be asked to pay the last month's rent, as well. Regardless of what it is called in the lease or rental agreement, any sum you pay the landlord to hold as security for damages to the premises or unpaid rent is considered "security." Here are some important facts to know about these charges:
1. The total amount of such charges cannot be more than one and one-half month's rent.
EXAMPLE: Monthly rent is $350. The lease calls for a $175 security deposit, and last month's rent of $350. The total security charged is $525. Since this equals one and one-half month's rent, it is therefore an acceptable amount under the law.
2. Cleaning and redecorating charges are not considered part of the security deposit. However, if those charges are to be nonrefundable, that fact must be stated in writing by the landlord. If it isn't in writing, these charges cannot automatically be withheld when you move out.
EXAMPLE: Your lease specifies a security deposit and a cleaning deposit. However, the lease does not say that the cleaning deposit is "nonrefundable." When you move out, you clean the place thoroughly, but the landlord does not return the cleaning deposit. In order to legally withhold the cleaning deposit in this situation, the landlord must treat it as any other security deposit and give you a written, itemized statement of the amount spent for cleaning your former residence. (See the section below titled "After You Move Out" for a complete description of the law concerning the return of security deposits.)
3. Make sure the charges you pay at the beginning of your tenancy are clearly explained in your lease or rental agreement
EXAMPLE: Your lease specifies a security deposit of $350, which is equal to a month's rent. When you sign the lease, the apartment manager tells you that you can use the security deposit in lieu of your last month's rent. However, the written lease says nothing about this arrangement. In this case, insist that the lease be changed to reflect this agreement. If you do not, and you later get into a dispute about this provision, the written lease provision will probably determine the outcome.
BEFORE YOU MOVE IN
You may legally be held responsible for any damage you do to the premises while you live there. However, you are not responsible for normal "wear and tear." To protect yourself, insist that the landlord inspect the premises before you move in. Write down any damage or problems on a sheet of paper that both you and the landlord sign, along with an acknowledgment that these damages or problems existed before you moved in and you are not responsible for them.
If the premises aren't clean when you move in, and you have to clean them, ask the landlord to make an adjustment to your first month's rent, or change the lease to indicate that you do not have to clean before you move out, or to give you some other concession for having to take possession of a dirty residence. Remember, by not cleaning the premises before you moved in, the landlord has saved money or time or both.
BEFORE YOU MOVE OUT
Ask the landlord to inspect the premises after you have moved your belongings out and cleaned. During the inspection, write down all of the damages for which you will be held responsible and the additional cleaning the landlord wants you to do, if any. If you dispute any of the damage items, discuss it with the landlord at that time. Be sure to have the pre-move in checklist with you to resolve any disputes about damage that was done before you moved in.
This pre-move out inspection gives you the opportunity to rectify some of the problems that may cause you to lose your security deposit. If you and the landlord can agree on the damage and cleaning items, sign the list and get the landlord to do the same, indicating which items you will repair or clean before turning the premises back over to the landlord.
At the time you turn the keys over to the landlord, give him or her a letter asking for the return of your security deposit within 14 days and giving an address where it can be mailed or delivered.
AFTER YOU MOVE OUT
Under Arizona law, your landlord has 14 days after you deliver
possession of the premises and make demand to do one of two things:
1) return your security deposit in full; or
2) deliver to you an itemized written notice of the damages or unpaid rent to which the deposit has been applied, along with any remaining amount of the security deposit.
If the landlord does not comply with these requirements, you may file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court and recover the amount of the deposit wrongfully withheld plus twice the amount wrongfully withheld.
(Please be aware, however, that if you have caused damage to the premises, or have not paid all the rent due, the landlord can still hold you responsible by filing a countersuit against you for the cost of repairs, unpaid rent and other damages.)
If you have not received your security deposit or an itemized explanation of the items to which it has been applied, within 14 days, write the landlord a letter. In the letter explain that you are aware of your rights under Arizona's landlord tenant laws and demand the return of your security deposit (or the portion to which you are entitled) within a specified period of time. Let the landlord know that if your deposit is not returned within that time, you are prepared to file suit in Small Claims Court to enforce your rights.
ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES (A.R.S.), TITLE 33. PROPERTY. CHAPTER 10. ARIZONA RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
This excerpt is provided as a general, unofficial, lay person’s guide to the law, and in no way may be construed as legal advice.
ARTICLE 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 1 PLAIN ENGLISH: Pay the rent on time, don’t sign anything that gives up your rights, and only enter into an agreement honestly.
§ 33-1311. Agreements must be made in good faith.
§ 33-1313. Reasonable effort must be made to give “Notice;” i.e. to bring to the attention of the landlord or the tenant information that affects either.
§ 33-1314. You must pay the rent by the date it is due, according to your rental agreement, whether you get a bill for it or not; and you have the right to obtain a receipt from the landlord. If no term is defined in a written agreement, then its considered month-to-month.
§ 33-1314.01. If your Landlord pays for utilities, then charges you for them, the Landlord must itemize how these are paid, including any administrative fees over and above the utility amount.
§ 33-1315. It’s against the law to ask you, the tenant, to waive or limit any of the rights or remedies this law provides for in any rental agreement.
§ 33-1317. Discrimination against tenant because he/she has children is prohibited.
§ 33-1318. There are provisions for terminating a lease if you are a victim of domestic violence.
ARTICLE 2. LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS § 33-1321. Security deposits:
A landlord cannot ask for more than one and one-half month’s rent as any type of deposit. However, you can voluntarily pay more than 1½ month’s rent in advance.
The landlord must state in writing the purpose of all nonrefundable fees or deposits. Any fee or deposit, cleaning, redecorating or otherwise, not expressly stated as nonrefundable are refundable.
You can get back the balance of any refundable security deposit within 14 business days after your rental agreement has been terminated. However, the landlord may deduct any rent or other reasonable charges from your security deposit as long as it is legitimate and itemized in a written statement.
If the landlord fails to comply, you may recover the property and money owed you plus damages up to twice the amount wrongfully withheld.
ARTICLE 2, 33-1321 PLAIN ENGLISH: Deposits can’t be more than 1½ x a month’s rent. A landlord must state what portions are nonrefundable, the rest is refundable, and they can only keep the money with written, itemized justification.
§ 33-1322. Written rental agreement
The landlord must provide to you, in writing on or before move-in, the name and address of (1) the person authorized to manage the premises, and (2) an owner or a person authorized to act on the owner’s behalf for process serving, receiving and giving receipt for notices and demands.
The landlord must deliver a signed copy of the rental agreement to the tenant and the tenant must sign and return to the landlord one complete copy of this rental agreement within a reasonable time after the agreement is executed. A written rental agreement can have NO blank spaces.
ARTICLE 2, 33-1322 PLAIN ENGLISH: Both tenant and landlord get copies of the lease with no blank spaces, and the landlord has to provide a way to give them legal notice.
§ 33-1324. Landlord to maintain fit premises; i.e. he/she must:
Comply with applicable building codes affecting health and safety. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition. Keep all common areas in a clean and safe condition.
Maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning systems and appliances, including elevators in good and safe working order. Provide receptacles and arrange for trash removal.
Supply running water, reasonable amounts of hot water at all times; heat and air-conditioning or cooling where such units are installed and offered.
ARTICLE 4, 33-1361 PLAIN ENGLISH: If the landlord doesn’t make the repairs you have formally requested, then you can break the lease with 10-day written notice, or 5-day notice if the unmade repair affects your health and safety.
ARTICLE 2, 33-1324 PLAIN ENGLISH: Landlord has to keep the rental units in fit and habitable condition, keep up all systems (like plumbing), provide a way to take care of the trash, and ensure running water, hot water, and heating and cooling.
ARTICLE 3. TENANT OBLIGATIONS
§ 33-1341. Tenant to maintain dwelling; i.e. you must:
Comply with building codes affecting health and safety. Keep your part of the premises as clean and safe as their condition permits. Dispose of all waste in a clean and safe manner. Keep all plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
Use all facilities and appliances on the premises in a reasonable manner. Not damage or remove any part of the premises or knowingly let anyone else do so. Notify the landlord of any situation that requires maintenance, or other landlord action.
Not disturb your neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
ARTICLE 3, 33-1341 PLAIN ENGLISH: Tenant must keep rental unit in clean and safe condition, take care of the trash, not abuse or damage facilities, and notify the landlord if repair is needed.
§ 33-1342. Rules and regulations
A landlord may adopt and enforce rules concerning tenant’s use and occupancy of the premises only if the rules promote tenants’ convenience, safety or welfare, preserve the property from abuse, or make services and facilities more fairly distributed. Rules must apply to all tenants in a fair manner and be sufficiently explicit to fairly explain what to do or not do to comply.
Rules are not made so a landlord may evade his/her obligations, and tenants must have notice of the rules when entering into the rental agreement. A 30-day written notice is required for new rules, and they cannot substantially modify the original rental agreement.
The landlord may make immediate amendments to lease agreements only to bring them into compliance with the law, but must give written notice of the amendment with description and effective date.
ARTICLE 3, 33-1342 PLAIN ENGLISH: Rules for occupancy are legal if they apply fairly to all tenants, if you have a written copy of the rules before you sign the lease, or if you are given at least 30 days notice for any rule changes not mandated by law. You can be evicted if you don’t follow the rules, so make sure you agree with them before signing.
§ 33-1343. Landlord Access
Except in an emergency, the landlord must give the tenant at least two days’ notice of intent to enter, and enter only at reasonable times. Even with permission, the landlord cannot abuse the right to access or use it to harass. You, the tenant, cannot unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the premises for legitimate purposes.
A service request (for example, you ask to have the plumbing fixed) constitutes permission for the landlord to enter, but only to act on the request.
The landlord has no other right of access except by court order, or if you have abandoned or surrendered the premises.
ARTICLE 3, 33-1343 PLAIN ENGLISH: Landlords can only access your rental unit with 48-hours notice, or in case of an emergency, or if you have requested maintenance.
ARTICLE 4. REMEDIES
§ 33-1361. Noncompliance by the landlord
If the landlord does not make repairs as requested, you may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the breach of contract, and that the landlord has 10 days to fix (remedy) the problem or the rental agreement is terminated. If this noncompliance affects health and safety, the term is five days.
If the landlord adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement will not terminate.
The tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by a deliberate or negligent act or omission.
Tenant may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any noncompliance by the landlord.
If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all security recoverable by the tenant.
§ 33-1362. Failure to deliver possession
If the landlord fails to deliver physical possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant then rent should be prorated. If you still can’t move in after at least five days’ written notice, you can terminate the rental agreement and upon termination the landlord must return all prepaid rent and security. Alternately, you can demand performance of the rental agreement by the landlord and recover the damages.
§ 33-1363. Self-help for minor defects
If the reasonable cost of repair or compliance is less than $300 or half of one month’s rent (whichever is greater), you can do some repairs and deduct it from your rent if you do the following:
Notify the landlord in writing of your intention to correct the problem—at the landlord’s expense, who then has 10 days (or as promptly as conditions require if it’s an emergency) to correct the problem. See Sample Letter #7, “Tenant Demanding Maintenance: Self-Help Remedy,” on page 56)
If the landlord does not correct the problem, you may have the work done by a licensed contractor. You must then submit to the landlord an itemized statement of the contractor’s charges and a waiver of the contractor’s lien (see Sample Letter #8, “Self-Help Remedy: Completion,” on page 57). You may then deduct the amount you paid from next month’s rent.
ARTICLE 4, 33-1363 PLAIN ENGLISH: Ex 1: You rent an apartment for $425/month. The pipes under the kitchen sink start leaking, and you know that your landlord is slow to fix such things. You call a plumber (a licensed contractor), and find out that it will cost $175 to $200 to fix the leak. You may deliver to your landlord written notice that unless the leak is fixed in ten days, you will pay to have it fixed and deduct the amount from your rent.
ARTICLE 4, 33-1363 PLAIN ENGLISH: Ex 2: Same facts as above, but it is the toilet that stops working. Since a toilet is essential, this qualifies as an emergency. In this case you would be justified in giving the landlord a shorter period of time, even as little as 24 hours in which to fix the problem, before you resort to self-help.
§ 33-1364. Wrongful failure to supply heat, air conditioning, cooling, water, hot water or essential services
If your landlord fails to supply any of the above, you may use any one of the remedies described in the previous sections. Or, after you have given the landlord written notice, you may:
Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat or essential services (such as a working toilet and garbage pickup) and deduct their actual reasonable cost from the rent; or
Recover damages based on the diminished fair rental value of the premises;
Procure substitute housing, in which case you are excused from paying rent during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. If the cost of the substitute housing exceeds your rent, you may be reimbursed for 25% above your periodic rent. If the landlord’s noncompliance is deliberate, you are excused from paying rent and you may recover the full cost of the substitute housing up to your periodic rent.
You cannot use of any of these remedies if the problem was caused by you—negligently or deliberately—or by a member of your family or someone on the premises with your permission.
§ 33-1366. Fire or casualty damage
If the premises are damaged by fire or casualty you may move out, and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days that you are terminating the rental agreement; or if you stay and cannot use the whole unit, then your rent is then reduced proportionally. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord must return all security as in A.R.S. 33-1321.
§ 33-1367. Tenant’s remedies for landlord’s unlawful ouster, exclusion or diminution of services.
If the landlord unlawfully evicts you, locks you out, or willfully diminishes essential services, you may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement. Either way, you may recover not more than two months’ periodic rent or twice the actual sustained damages, whichever is greater. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord must return all security as in A.R.S. 33-1321. See Sample Letter #6
§ 33-1368. Noncompliance with rental agreement by tenant; failure to pay rent; utility discontinuation; liability for guests; definition
If you falsely report on the rental agreement about the number of occupants, pets, prospective income, social security number, criminal activity, or other, the landlord may serve you notice specifying the acts and omissions constituting a breach of contract, and that the rental agreement will terminate not less than ten days after receipt of the notice if the situation is not fixed.
The rest of the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act refers to Landlord’s rights, which are nearly mirror images of the Tenant’s rights. Some of the key points:
A landlord is not required to accept a partial payment of rent or other charges.
If you abandon the premises, and do not pay the rent, you may lose your personal property if you do not respond within 10 days to the landlord’s notice.
A landlord cannot place a lien on a tenant’s household goods, nor can he/she seize your property for non-payment of rent.
If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord may have a claim for possession and for rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement.
A landlord may not retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession just because you complain or become a part of a tenant’s union.