The relationship between Arizona landlords and tenants is supposed to be harmonious and mutually beneficial. Arizona law outlines specific obligations of both property owners and renters while they’re bound by a lease agreement. Both landlords and tenants should be aware of these obligations and their rights as written in state law.
This guide to Arizona landlord and tenant obligations will get you started.
Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act was written to “simplify, clarify, modernize and revise the law governing the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlord and tenant.” It outlines how landlords and tenants can work together to maintain and improve the quality of housing in the state.
Landlord obligations include the following:
- Collect a security deposit and return the funds to the tenant at the termination of occupancy, barring any damages to the property.
- Supply the dwelling unit and write a lease agreement detailing the nature, length and expectations of the tenants while living on property.
- Maintain fit premises by keeping the unit up to code and ensuring utilities can be delivered safely and effectively.
Tenant obligations include but are not limited to:
- Maintain the dwelling unit by properly using appliances, disposing of trash and refraining from knowingly damaging the property.
- Follow landlord rules that are set to promote safety and welfare of the tenant.
- Give reasonable unit access to the landlord, presuming the tenant has at least two days’ notice and the landlord plans to enter during normal operational hours.
Required Landlord Disclosures
Before tenant occupancy begins, landlords are required to disclose certain details about the property, if applicable. First, landlords must disclose any known lead-based paints or lead-based paint hazards on property. They are to provide this EPA-approved information pamphlet at or before tenancy begins.
Second, landlords must provide the names and addresses of the property owner(s) and manager(s). All information about the tenant’s security deposit collection and return should be included with these disclosures.
Third, the landlord shall not enter into a lease agreement if the property is infested with bedbugs. Tenants must be given bedbug educational information upon move-in, and existing tenants must be given this information if it hasn’t been disclosed already.
Finally, landlords must provide a signed copy of the lease agreement and written disclosures of any existing wear, tear and damage to the property. The documentation of existing damages can be utilized upon move-out to determine if the tenant was responsible for any additional damages.
Arizona Security Deposit and Return
Before the tenant moves into the property, the landlord is entitled to collect no more than one and one-half month’s rent. This does not prevent the tenant from paying more than that amount in advance rent. Upon move in, the landlord must provide the tenant with a signed copy of the lease agreement and notice of any relevant fees. The landlord must state in writing which fees are nonrefundable, as all undesignated fees are eligible to be refunded to the tenant.
Upon move out (except in the event of a breach of lease and eviction) the landlord may inspect the property for damages. The security deposit is to be used to repair damages, and the tenant should be given an itemized list of repair costs. Any leftover funds after all repairs are completed must be returned to the tenant within 14 days. If the total cost of repairs exceeds the amount of the security deposit, the landlord can collect the amount due. Tenants have 60 days to dispute additional charges.
Late Fees and Other Rent Obligations
Arizona tenants are obligated to pay rent on its due date specified in the lease agreement, usually on the first of each month. If tenants do not pay rent on time, landlords may begin to charge “reasonable” late fees set forth in the lease agreement. Arizona law gives tenants five (5) days to pay rent before the landlord can file for eviction, but landlords cannot raise the rent amount without notice. With month-to-month lease agreements, landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice before raising the rent amount, and with long term leases (12+ months) the rent cannot be raised until the end of the lease term.
Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
Because landlords are obligated to provide a safe environment for tenants, tenants have the right to withhold rent in the event the landlord fails to handle important maintenance. Tenants can either outright withhold rent or exercise their right to “repair and deduct.” With the latter, the cost of the repair is deducted from the cost of rent, so the landlord only receives the leftover portion of that month’s rent.
Find an Experienced Arizona Real Estate Attorney
MacQueen & Gottlieb has significant experience with lease agreements in Arizona and we can help review your lease agreement to decide on the best course of action. Our attorneys can represent you throughout the entire process and assist with all negotiations if needed. Contact us today at (602) 562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.