State Rules and Regulations for Arizona Rental Properties and Landlords
Each state has specific laws governing landlord-tenant relationships. These laws are aimed at creating an open housing climate for tenants and a fair business climate for landlords. There are both state and federal laws that govern what landlords can and cannot do. In addition, they define methods of remediation for landlords when a tenant is in violation of his or her lease. The following resource is designed to help both landlords and tenants understand their obligations under the law in Arizona.
Housing Discrimination and Federal Law
Federal law prohibits discriminatory renting. In other words, landlords cannot deny a rental application on the basis of:
- National origin,
- Sex or gender,
- Familial status, or
Most of these are self-explanatory, but a couple may need explanation.
Discrimination based on familial status means that a landlord cannot deny an application because an applicant has children. In terms of disability, a landlord is expected to make reasonable accommodations and is prohibited from denying an applicant based on a disability. That includes a request for a service animal. A landlord may be inclined to deny an applicant based on a no-pets policy or charge the applicant a security deposit for the animal, but both are illegal under the Fair Housing Act.
Neither the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, or Arizona law includes “emotional support animals” as legitimate service animals. In other words, an “emotional support animal” is considered a pet under the law. A landlord can request that the owner provide proof of need from a doctor to vet the animal.
Housing Discrimination and Arizona Law
Arizona follows federal guidelines to the letter, but unlike some states it does not add any protected categories. For instance, some states like Colorado include restrictions on discrimination against gay or transgender individuals. While Arizona has no particular law naming homosexuality or gender non-conformity as a protected class, some localities do extend civil rights protections to both. In terms of litigation, it remains unclear if sex and gender protections extend to transgender and gay applicants.
For landlords, the best practice is to always take the first qualified applicant. In Arizona, a landlord has wide latitude on denying applications. Nonetheless, discriminatory choices can and will be challenged even when the applicant is not specifically named as a protected class. Hence why creating a clear and transparent decision process for accepting applicants is always the best choice.
Examples of Discriminatory Practice
A landlord may not discriminate on the basis of a protected characteristic. Examples include:
- Refusing to rent,
- Refusing to show,
- Charging more,
- Asking for a larger security deposit,
- Saying a property is no longer for sale,
- Denying access to common service,
- Or segregating tenants.
Arizona Laws Governing Landlord-Tenant Relations
Arizona’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act divides landlord-tenant regulations into two categories. The first pertains to residential rental units; the second pertains to mobile home parks. The laws governing landlord tenant-relations can be found Arizona Revised Statutes Ann. §§ 33-301 to 33-381.
Security Deposits and Arizona Regulations
Laws governing Arizona security deposits can be found in Arizona Revised Statutes Ann §§ 33-1321(A).
Landlords are prohibited from asking tenants to pay more than 150% of a month’s rent for a security deposit. In addition, a landlord may not demand more than a month and a half worth of rent upfront. Landlords can, however, charge non-refundable fees so long as a note is made in the lease agreement and the tenant signs off on it. This includes an added pet deposit, so long as the total security deposit does not exceed a month and half of the rent.
Landlords returning security deposits have 14 business days from the termination of the lease agreement. In addition, a landlord must present the tenant with an itemized list of damages and send it via first-class mail to withhold money from the security deposit. A landlord who fails to comply with these statutes is subject to fines in the amount of twice the security deposit (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1321(E)).
Lease and Fee Regulations in Arizona
Arizona laws regarding lease agreements and rent can be found in Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1314.
The terms of the lease determine when rent is due and how it can be paid. Arizona has no statutes regarding notice of an increase in rent nor does it define any grace period for when rent is due. Both of these can be addressed in the lease.
A tenant can withhold rent if the landlord fails to supply the rental unit with heat, water, or other essential services (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1363). If a tenant attempts to repair damage to the rental unit themselves and then deducts rent, they must provide the landlord with a 10-day notice and wait, unless there is an emergency. The total cannot exceed half a month’s rent or $300, whichever is greater.
If a landlord is forced to sue a tenant for unpaid rent, the landlord can recover attorney and court fees (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 12-341.01) and sue for the period of time the property is not rented. They must, however, make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages to the tenant. In other words, they must try to re-rent the property as soon as possible (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1370(C)).
Termination of Lease Notice in Arizona
If the lease expires on a fixed date, neither the landlord nor tenant is under any obligation to give notice. However, on a month-to-month lease, then each party is expected to give 30 days notice. If the lease is week-to-week, 10 days must be given (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1375).
A landlord can sue a tenant who unlawfully remains on the premises without the landlord’s consent and after the lease has ended for two times the amount of damages or twice the rent (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1375(C)).
When the tenant moves out, the tenant is allowed to request a joint move-out inspection unless the tenant is being evicted and the landlord has cause to fear violence from the tenant (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1321(C)).
If the tenant owes for unpaid rent, the landlord must give the tenant five days to remedy the situation or terminate the lease (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1368(B)). If the tenant is in violation of the lease for any other reason, the landlord must give the tenant 10 days to remedy or terminate the lease. If the tenant’s violation compromises the health and safety of other tenants, the landlord can give the tenant five days to remedy or quit (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1368(A) and 33-1314).
If a landlord discovers that a tenant has falsified information on the lease, including withholding a previous criminal record, eviction, or other potentially damaging information, the landlord can give the tenant a 10-day notice to quit (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1368(A2)). If the landlord discovers that there is criminal activity happening on the premises, the landlord can also give the tenant a 10-day notice to vacate.
A landlord can find a tenant in immediate violation of a lease if the tenant has:
- Unlawfully discharged a weapon or committed homicide,
- Engaged in prostitution on the premises,
- Engaged in gang activity,
- Used the premises for distributing, manufacturing, using, or selling a controlled substance,
- Threatened or intimidated someone,
- Assaulted someone,
- Acted in a manner that constitutes a nuisance.
It is generally understood that if a tenant acts in a manner that endangers public health and safety, the welfare of the landlord, or the welfare of other tenants, then the landlord can terminate the lease immediately (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1343(D)).
Arizona Regulations Governing Notice of Entry
A landlord is required to give a tenant two days notice before entering the premises (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1343(D)). In the case of an emergency repair, the landlord is allowed to access the property without the tenant’s consent (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1343(C)).
Under no circumstances can a landlord lock the tenant out of the property or shut off utilities (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1367). A landlord who fails to comply can be forced to pay up to twice the amount of a month’s rent in punitive damages to the tenant.
Implied Warranty of Habitability
According to Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1324, a landlord must:
- Comply with building codes,
- Make repairs to premises when necessary,
- Keep common areas safe and clean,
- Maintain electricity, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and other necessities, and
- Provide and maintain garbage area and receptacles.
In addition, tenants are responsible for maintaining a sanitary living environment and prohibited from damaging the premises (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1341)
Arizona Regulations Concerning Landlord Disclosures
Landlords are obligated to record the property with an assessor in the county in which the property is located (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1902). The landlord is also obliged to inform the tenant of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act in writing and direct them to its online location.
When the tenant moves in, the landlord must present the tenant with a signed copy of the lease, specify any pre-existing damage to the property, and notify the tenant that the tenant is allowed to be present for the move-out inspection (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1321(C)).
A landlord is prohibited from renting a property which has a known infestation of bedbugs (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1319).
Domestic Violence Statutes
If a tenant says that he or she was abused by a spouse, partner, or someone else, the tenant is allowed to break the lease without penalty (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1318(A)). If the tenant asks for the locks to be changed, the landlord must comply with that request (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1318(E)).
A landlord is entitled to ask for proof of domestic violence and may sue the offender for damages related to complying with the victim’s requests (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1318(H1)).
If a tenant files an official complaint against a landlord, and the landlord, in turn, raises the rent, denies them services, terminates the lease, or refuses to renew the lease, it will be presumed that the landlord has acted in retaliation against the tenant (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1381).
Once a landlord has filed a written declaration of abandonment, the landlord must hold the property for 10 days. After 10 days, the landlord may sell the property to pay for unpaid rent or other damages. A landlord is expected to send the difference to the tenant at a known address (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1370(E)).
There is no statewide business license requirement for Arizona landlords. There may, however, be local ordinances that require landlords to have business licenses for properties in which they do not reside.
Arizona State Associations and Resources
- U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
- Arizona Fair Housing Brochure
- Arizona Department of Insurance
- Arizona Department of Real Estate
- Arizona Consumer Protection
- Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act
- City of Phoenix Landlord/Tenant Counseling
- Arizona Housing Authority Contact Information
- Arizona Section 8 Housing Information
- Maricopa County Housing Authority
- Arizona Association of REALTORS
- Phoenix Association of REALTORS
- Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA)
- Arizona Association of Manufactured Homes and RV Owners (AAMHO)
- National Association of Residential Property Managers – Phoenix Chapter
- Arizona Tenants Advocates
- Arizona Tenants Union
This blog entry is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.