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Arizona Landlord Tenant Laws

If you enter in to a residential landlord-tenant relationship, whether you are the tenant or landlord, it is important to be knowledgeable about the laws that govern the relationship. Here are just a few tips you can use to ensure that your rights are protected​ ​and ​​that you are prepared in the unfortunate event that a dispute arises in the relationship.

There are some general principles that both landlords and tenants should keep in mind. It may seem like a given, but it is crucial that, as a landlord, you prepare your leases with care and attention to detail. Similarly, as a tenant, the same care should be used in reading over the agreement before you sign – and remember, never sign anything you haven’t read.

While there are many basic lease templates available, each property and situation is unique and should be approached accordingly. Laws vary depending upon not only the intended use of the building (commercial v.s. residential), but also the type of property (e.g., house, apartment, or mobile home). There are items that according to law must be included in, or provided in addition to the lease. These include:

  • Any and all nonrefundable deposits or fees. Arizona is one of the few states in which nonrefundable deposits or fees are legal. However, they must be in writing and must have an explanation for the purpose for each. If a fee is not designated in writing as nonrefundable, it can be refunded.
  • A move-in inspection checklist to document any preexisting issues or damage on the property. It is the tenant’s responsibility to inspect the building, fixtures, appliances, flooring, and record the condition of these things upon moving in. This ensures that if any damages occur are attributed to the property party.
  • Educational material regarding bedbugs – physical descriptions, control and prevention options, as well as behaviors or actions shown to increase the risk of infestation. Bedbugs have become a prevalent issue across the country and can be extremely difficult to exterminate as they can be found not only in upholstery but also wood in walls and floors. There are many additional online resources as well as registries of locations known to have bedbugs.

Once the lease is signed, a relationship is formed between the landlord and tenant. For the duration of this relationship it’s important to remember that at its core, it’s a business relationship and should be treated as such. Here are some tips regarding correspondence which will benefit both parties if issues arise.

  • All physical mail should be sent using certified mail and you should request a return receipt. Certified mail is considered received after five days and will help show documents were received by the other party.
  • All communication with your landlord, property manager, etc. should be in writing. This way, you establish a record, and there will be no questions about what either of you said or did. If anyone contacts you over the phone, explain to that person your preference to have your conversations in writing to create a record of action.
  • Always get a receipt for the rent, repairs, or services you pay for regarding the rental property. If you pay using a check, use the memo line to specify both the month and what exactly the payment was for. This creates a reliable paper trail in case allegations of non-payment or impropriety arise.

Hopefully these easy tips will help you feel more confident no matter what side of the lease you’re on. To read more, check out our blog and our website page on landlord-tenant laws.

Please note that the preceding information is informational only, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you, or someone you know is facing a landlord-tenant issue, or any other real estate legal matter, contact the experienced Tucson attorneys at Harlow Spanier & Heckele PLLC. (520) 495-0869 or [email protected]

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