As a tenant in Arizona, it can sometimes feel as if you are at the mercy of your landlord. This is not true. Arizona aims to protect tenant rights under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. If you are concerned about your Arizona tenant rights, keep reading.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact the Arizona Legal Center today to learn more about your rights in your situation. Note that when you first contact the Arizona Legal Center, a law student (and not a practicing attorney) will handle your intake.
What are the basics of Arizona tenant rights?
The 2018 Arizona Residential Landlord And Tenant Act provides protections not only for landlords, but also tenants. In its most simple form, the Act requires tenants to properly maintain their residence and use it only as a residence. Tenants must also provide reasonable access for the landlord to the residence for the purpose of repairs.
Landlords, on the other hand, must abide with the following requirements:
- Request only a reasonable security deposit (A.R.S. §33-1321(A))
- Shall not discriminate against renters (as per 42 U.S.C. 3604for the federal statute and A.R.S. §41-1491.14 and A.R.S. §41-1491.19 for the Arizona statutes)
- Shall provide what the law describes as a “fit residence,” as defined by A.R.S. §33-1324
- Ensure the rental is safe, free from pests, and in operable condition.
Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant (and your landlord’s obligations and rights as well) makes for a good renting relationship.
What are my rights when it comes to repairs?
When your home needs repair, there are specific guidelines that tenants must follow. Before you do anything else, notify your landlord. Start with a phone call, and then always follow up with an email or written notice.
Your landlord must make repairs within ten days of the written notice (per A.R.S. §33-1363).
For landlords who fail make repairs within ten days, renters may be able to make use of the self-help repair statute (A.R.S. §33-1363). This allows you to notify your landlord that you will be fixing an issue yourself and deducting the cost from your rent if they have failed to fix the problem after ten days.
If your landlord does not make the repair within the allotted time, you may also have other options. Landlord-tenant laws in Arizona may allow you to terminate your lease or sue for damages under certain circumstances (such as medical bills or paid rent, per A.R.S. §33-1364).
You should always talk with an attorney before attempting to terminate your own lease, deducting the cost for any rental repairs, or asking for damages.
What are my rights when it comes to breaking a lease?
Generally, you may not break a lease in Arizona. However, there are some situations where you may be able to legally break a lease with no penalty. Always talk to an attorney before breaking a lease due to these causes.
A person experiencing domestic violence may be able to break a lease for their safety (A.R.S. §33-1318).
If they choose not to move out, the tenant may require the landlord to take additional security measures (at the tenant’s cost).
Active military duty
The War and National Defense Service members Civil Relief Act states that members of the uniformed services can give notice of active military duty in writing. The lease is terminated 30 days after the notice is given.
The phrase “uniformed services” includes the:
- Armed forces
- Commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Commissioned corps of the Public Health Service
Unsafe conditions in the rental unit
Harassment by the landlord (including violations of tenant rights)
Your landlord must give you two days’ notice to enter the rental property (A.R.S. §13-1343). If they repeatedly violate this, you may be able to break your lease.
What are my Arizona tenant rights when it comes to eviction?
A landlord cannot evict you for just any reason. Under Arizona A.R.S. §33-1381, your landlord generally cannot evict you:
- For reporting health code violations
- As a discriminatory action
- After you correct a properly-noticed lease violation in a timely manner
- After you pay past due rent and related fees
Landlords cannot simply show up and order you out. There is a process to follow, but an eviction can happen in as little as two weeks. More often, eviction takes 30 days or more. In Arizona, the property owner cannot change the locks and remove your belongings immediately (A.R.S. §33-1367).
Getting evicted can make it difficult to rent again and even damage your credit. You may be able to challenge the eviction in court and potentially halt the eviction. Before doing so, always talk to a legal professional for help with your situation.
What are my rights when it comes to basic utilities, like air conditioning?
Arizona law requires that rental units be safe, fit, and habitable. Under Arizona law, landlords must provide a rental unit that has fully operating appliances and is safe to occupy. This law includes offering what are considered “essential services.”
Arizona statute A.R.S. §33-1364(A) defines an “essential service” as:
“running water, gas or electrical service, or both if applicable, and reasonable amounts of hot water or heat, air conditioning or cooling, where such units are installed or offered.”
There are specific standards for some parts of Arizona. For example, the city of Phoenix sets a maximum temperature of 82 degrees for rental units that use air conditioning. Evaporative coolers are allowed a slightly higher maximum temperature (86 degrees).
If your landlord is not in compliance with this law, you can notify them in writing. Per A.R.S. §33-1363, they have ten days to make repairs.
Get help with Arizona tenant rights matters
If you face eviction or a rental property in poor repair, it can be hard to remember your rights. Sometimes it helps to speak to a person who understands renters’ rights and can explain the process to you.
The Arizona Legal Center is a free legal clinic that can help you understand your Arizona tenant rights. Get in touch today for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The Arizona Legal Center provides free legal aid and consultations in Arizona only. We provide low-cost access to fee-for-service cases when determined appropriate by an attorney at the Center, but generally do not undertake full-scope representation.