Jan 22, 2015

48 Hour Notice to Enter Rental Property

As an Arizona landlord you have the legal right to periodically enter your property. The law doesn't place limitations on why you want to enter the property. However, it is not a right without limitations and should not be used as a form of harassment or intimidation.

Proper Notice

A.R.S. § 33-1343(D) states in part that, “the landlord shall give the tenant at least two days’ notice of the landlord’s intent to enter and enter only at reasonable times.” Although the law does not specify that the notice must be written (as opposed to verbal), it is a good idea to post written notice of intent to enter, or send via mail, so that you as a landlord have proof that you followed the proper procedure.

A.R.S. § 33-1343(A) states in part that “the tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements…” or show the property to potential buyers. If the tenant won’t allow you to enter the property, it is grounds for eviction.

Emergencies

Per, A.R.S. § 33-1343(C) the landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant in case of emergency. So, for example, if you see smoke billowing out of the windows you don’t have to wait for permission to enter and extinguish the fire.

Landlord Harassment

Don’t use the ability to enter the property as a way of harassing or intimidating a tenant. According to A.R.S. § 33-1343(D) “the landlord shall not abuse the right to access or use it to harass the tenant.” One of the most common defenses a tenant brings up in court is that their landlord was harassing them. Avoid anything that even resembles harassment so your tenant can’t use that as a defense if you end up having to evict them.

Jan 8, 2015

Tenants Withholding Rent

Arizona does not permit "rent-striking". This means that before a tenant can legally withhold any rent they must follow a very strict set of procedures.

Section 33-1363(A) and (B) of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act specifically address what a tenant must do prior to withholding rent from the landlord.

Section 33-1363(A) states in part: A tenant "may notify the landlord of the tenant's intention to correct the condition at the landlord's expense. After being notified by the tenant in writing, if the landlord fails to comply within ten days or as promptly thereafter as conditions require in case of emergency, the tenant may cause the work to be done by a licensed contractor and after submitting to the landlord an itemized statement and a waiver of lien, deduct from his rent the actual and reasonable cost of the work, not exceeding"...an amount less than three hundred dollars, or an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent, whichever amount is greater.

Additionally Section 33-1363(B) states in part; "A tenant may not repair at the landlord's expense if...the condition repaired does not constitute a breach of the fit and habitable condition of the premises."

So to put this into plain English, before a tenant can legally withhold rent they must:

  1. Write the landlord and notify him of their intention to correct the condition at the landlord's expense;
  2. The tenant must give the landlord ten days to fix the problems outlined in the written notice;
  3. Give the landlord ten days to fix the problem before seeking any self-help solutions;
  4. Have the repairs completed by a licensed contractor;
  5. Submit the landlord with an itemized statement;
  6. Provide the landlord a waiver of lien;
  7. Deduct from their rent the actual and reasonable cost of the work;
  8. Not to exceed three hundred dollars, or half of the month rent, whichever is greater; and
  9. The repairs must constitute a breach of the fit and habitable condition of the premises.
Unless, and until a tenant has completed each of the steps noted above they cannot withhold rent from their landlord.