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Arizona Residential Landlord-Tenant Law Guide

An overview of materials and sources for residential landlord-tenant law in Arizona.

INTRODUCTION

This portion of the guide covers duties and obligations of TENANTS.  Also covered are violations in cases of a landlord breach and available remedies for tenants in these instances, as well statutory information regarding security deposits and month-to-month leases.

TENANT DUTIES

DUTY TO MAINTAIN THE PREMISES

Tenants have a duty to maintain the dwelling unit. This includes such things such 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 control their guests so as not to disturb the neighbors. A.R.S. § 33-321; A.R.S. § 33-1341.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR GUESTS

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).

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 be due. A.R.S. § 33-1375(B).

SECURITY DEPOSITS

  • The maximum amount 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).

LANDLORD VIOLATIONS

REFUSAL TO RENT

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 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. A.R.S. § 33-1317.

Federal and state laws 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.

LANDLORD'S BREACH OF RENTAL AGREEMENT

If a landlord materially fails to comply with 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 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. § 33-1361(A).

If the material breach affects the health and safety of the tenant, he or she may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than five days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within five days. A.R.S. § 33-1361(A).

A tenant cannot withhold rent unless it is authorized by the act. 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;
  • heat, air-conditioning, etc.

**See A.R.S. § 33-1364 for the details of what the tenant can do in this situation.

OTHER RESOURCES