Arizona Landlord Tenant Law: An Introduction
Arizona Landlord Tenant Law is an important set of rules and regulations for both landlords and tenants. Understanding Arizona Landlord Tenant Law will help ensure that both parties’ rights and responsibilities are known, understood, and respected throughout the rental agreement process. Arizona Landlord Tenant Law dictates several different aspects of the relationship between the two parties, such as what is expected from a landlord with regards to maintenance, tenant requirements for payment of rent and damages, how to end a lease agreement responsibly, protection of personal information obtained at the beginning of the tenancy, liability for damages or injury caused by either party, as well as other important items which form the basis for any rental agreement in Arizona. Arizona Landlord Tenant Laws provide certainty between both parties when they enter into any rental agreement and help ensure a successful outcome.
Let’s understand Arizona landlord tenant law and regulations through the following –
How much may I accept as a security deposit?
A security deposit may not exceed an amount greater than one and a half month’s rent. However, a separate refundable pet deposit in addition to the security deposit may be permitted if the tenant voluntarily agrees.
Am I required to register my rental property?
It is required that all owners of residential rental property file with the county assessor’s office where the property is located. Registration information must include a name, address, telephone number of the owner; or company information for any organized corporation, limited liability company or partnerships. If an owner of Arizona residential rental property does not reside in the state, they shall designate a county assessor, legal representative or agent who will accept legal services on behalf or the owner. This is per Arizona Revised Statutes Section 33-1902.
My tenant has moved out. What do I do with their security deposit?
The landlord must return to the tenant the full security deposit or an itemized list of all deductions made, along with the amount owed, if any within 14 days; excluding Saturdays, Sundays, or other legal holidays. Unless other arrangements are made in writing by the tenant, the landlord shall mail the tenant’s security deposit to the last known place of residence. When deductions are made to the security deposit, normal wear and tear is usually excluded, excess damage may be deducted.
What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
A common issue amongst landlords regarding security deposits is that of over-estimating damages and charging for items that constitute normal wear and tear. Landlord should keep in mind that charges and/or deductions may only be made for items that are considered as damage beyond normal wear and tear. Another frequent issue is not providing documentation of all deductions or cancelled checks. It is a good practice to document move out conditions with photos or video.
May I charge an application fee, late rent charge or a returned payment fee?
There are no statutory limits placed on late fees and/or application fees in Arizona. However, reasonable cost should always be kept in mind when instituting any charges and the landlord should be fair when assessing such fees.
Notwithstanding any other law, the holder, payee or assignee of the holder or payee of a dishonored check, draft, order or note may charge and collect from the maker or drawer a service fee of not more than twenty-five dollars plus any actual charges assessed by the financial institution of the holder, payee or assignee of the holder or payee as a result of the dishonored instrument.
How can I terminate an Arizona lease?
- A fixed term lease is a lease that contains a beginning date and an end date. Under Arizona statute, a fixed term lease simply ends on the date specified in the lease unless otherwise stated.
- A periodic lease is a lease that continues from period to period (i.e. month to month). In Arizona, a periodic lease will usually continue until either a landlord or tenant gives the other notice of at least 30 days.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease?
In Arizona if a U.S. Military Service member receives orders for a transfer, the landlord is obligated to release the tenant from the lease. Additionally, if a landlord violates the lease, a tenant may seek to be released from the tenancy.
My tenant was supposed to be out of the apartment and he is still there. What can I do?
Often referred to as “holdover” tenancy, a landlord may file for eviction and may be awarded up to twice the monthly rent or for actual damages; whichever is greater.
How much notice is required in order to evict my tenant?
Prior to filing for an eviction, written notification is required. However, notices may differ based on the situation.
- If the situation concerns non-payment of rent, a five day notice is required, notifying the tenant that they must pay their rent or their agreement will be terminated and they will be evicted.
- If the situation pertains to other violations of the lease agreement, a ten day notice is required highlighting the violation as well as stating that if tenant does not cure (“fix” or “stop”) the cause of the breach, than the rental agreement will terminate and the tenant may be evicted.
If the tenant(s) does not pay rent or cure the default after the notice period expires, landlords may than file in the appropriate court for any rent due, damages and possession.
My tenant wants to pay only part of the rent he owes? I have already started eviction proceedings; should I accept the partial payment?
Accepting payment whether full or partial, waives the landlord’s right to proceed and evict the tenant unless a non-waiver agreement is signed.
My tenant signed a one year lease and has been evicted after only 4 months. I have not been able to find a replacement. Is the tenant responsible for the balance of the lease term?
Making a tenant fiscally responsible for the balance of their lease term is commonly called “accelerating the balance of the lease”. This is permissible in Arizona but the landlord is obligated to mitigate damages. Mitigating damages means that the landlord must do everything within their power to re-rent the available apartment.
Can I force my tenant to pay for attorney fees and court costs?
In Arizona, attorney fees may be recovered if specified within the lease agreement. Generally court costs are awarded to the prevailing party by the judge.
How long does the eviction process take?
With any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, an eviction process usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks.
My tenant moved out without notice and left property behind. What can I do?
A landlord must follow the Arizona statute ARS 33-1370 to post and certify notice;
- then wait five full days.
- After five days have passed, then the landlord may change the locks, inventory the property left behind and hold the personal property for ten days.
In the meantime the landlord is obligated to notify the tenant via certified mail explaining where the property will be stored for the following ten days. At the end of the required storage period, the landlord may sell the property. It is good practice to document all actions and take photos of all property left behind.
Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
If a landlord must enter the rental unit to make any repairs or improvements they must give 48 hours written notice, unless in cases of emergency.
Do I need to be licensed or registered in order to be a landlord?
In Arizona, landlords and/or property owners must register the rental property with the appropriate county assessor’s office.
Disclosure: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.