Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Under the Arizona Residential Landlord & Tenant Act (ARLTA), there are a number of things that a landlord cannot do!
ARLTA gives tenants certain rights that cannot be waived or diminished by a landlord after a lease is established. The following are things that a landlord cannot do in Arizona.
What a Landlord Cannot Do in Arizona
1. Fail to provide your tenant with a habitable rental property.
As a landlord in Arizona, you have a duty to provide your tenant with a habitable rental property. Among other things, you must ensure that the property:
- Has heating and air conditioning.
- Has clean hot and cold running water.
- Sufficient garbage collection containers.
- Has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Is free from pest infestations.
In addition to this, you must also make repairs in a timely manner. Specifically, under the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 33-1363 and § 33-1364, landlords have a duty to make repairs within 5-10 days once notified.
You must make repairs within 5 days if the repair is necessary to make the property habitable. This may include repairs for things like:
- A damaged roof.
- Lack of running water.
- A damaged furnace, heater, or any other essential amenity.
- A pest infestation.
For all other repairs, you must make them within 10 days of receiving proper notice from the tenant. This may apply to repairs involving things like:
- A hole in the wall
- A broken window
- A leaky faucet
- A broken appliance
If you fail to make the repairs within the required time, your tenant may be able to exercise a few legal options. Including, suing you for damages, breaking the lease without penalty, or repairing the issue themselves and deducting the costs from future rent payments.
2. Evict your tenant injudiciously.
This is another thing that a landlord cannot do in Arizona.
- Evicting the tenant as a retaliatory tactic.
- Evicting the tenant due to their race, color, nationality, or any other protected class.
- Evicting the tenant by removing their belongings, locking them out, or shutting down a utility.
These are all illegal eviction methods not only in Arizona, but also in the rest of the 49 states. Only a court order can order the removal of a tenant. The following is a basic overview of what the eviction would entail.
- Have a legally justified reason to evict the tenant. For instance, nonpayment of rent, illegal activity, habitability violation, or no lease.
- Serve the tenant with an eviction notice. For instance, if the eviction is due to nonpayment of rent, then you must serve the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Pay. This will give them up to 5 days to pay the due rent or move out. If they don’t, you could continue the eviction process by moving to court.
- File a complaint in court and serve the tenant with a copy of the Summons and Complaint.
- Allow the tenant time to respond. This will them an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
- Attend court hearing for the judgment.
- If the judgment is in your favor, obtain a Writ of Restitution.
- Removal of the tenant. The writ will give the tenant up to 5 days to leave. If they still refuse to leave on their own, the sheriff will have no other option but to evict them forcefully.
Expect the process to take anywhere between 1 and 6 weeks. It could also take much longer if the tenant chooses to fight it or file an appeal after the judgment.
3. Retaliate against your tenant.
Retaliating against your tenant for exercising a legal right is something that you must not do in Arizona. Arizona tenants, just like others in the country, have a right to exercise certain freedoms. Including:
- Participating in a tenant’s organization to advocate for their rights.
- Complain to the landlord about maintenance issues.
- Report code or wage-price violations.
If a tenant does any of those things, you must not retaliate against them by taking the following illegal actions within a 6 month period.
- Raising rent.
- Reducing services.
- Threatening eviction.
If you do so, your tenant may be able to respond by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property. They may also be able to break their lease without penalty.
4. Wrongfully withhold your tenant’s security deposit.
As a landlord in Arizona, you have an obligation to abide by the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §33-1321 and §33-143. The codes set forth the rules that landlords requiring security deposits must follow.
The following is a basic overview of what you must do.
- Stick by the limit. You must not charge tenants a security deposit exceeding 1.5X the monthly rent. If the monthly rent is, say, $1,000, then you must not ask for more than $1,500 as security deposit.
- Return the deposit within the stipulated time of 14 days after the tenant vacates the unit. If making deductions, you must also provide the tenant with the itemized list within this period.
- You must only make allowable deductions. For instance, for unpaid rent and damages exceeding normal wear and tear.
Failure to follow these laws can have tangible repercussions for a landlord. You may have to pay the tenant up to 3X the wrongfully withheld amount. In addition, you may also have to pay the tenant’s court and attorney fees.
5. Illegally raise the rent amount.
Arizona is a fairly landlord-friendly state. The state doesn’t have rent control and state law prohibits towns and cities from creating their own rent control laws. Basically, what this means is that you may be able to raise rent by whatever amount and as often as you’d like.
But even so, you must ensure to follow the law by not increasing the rent out of discrimination, or as a retaliatory tactic. In addition, you must not increase the rent during a fixed-term less, unless the lease makes for such a provision.
Also, you must provide your tenant with a 30 days’ notice before making any increments if they pay rent monthly.
6. Discriminate against your tenant.
The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants on the basis of:
- Familial status
This means that a landlord cannot do the following in Arizona.
- Refuse to rent your property to a tenant because they are of a different race or color.
- Charge a tenant more rent because they have children, disabled, or from a different nationality.
- Include discriminative statements in your rental ad. For instance, “Females Preferred,” “No Children,” or “Ideal for Single Professionals.”
- Evict a tenant because of their sex, nationality, or race.
- Refuse to provide reasonable accommodation or make reasonable modification to
Fair housing violations by a landlord, or any other housing provider, can be severe. You can be liable to civil penalties of up to $107,050. The exact amount will depend on the severity of the violation. In addition, you may also be made to pay the tenant actual damages, as well as court and attorney fees.
7. Enter the tenant’s dwelling as you please.
As a landlord in Arizona, you cannot enter your tenant’s dwelling as you please. Why? Your tenant has a right to enjoy their rented property in peace and quiet.
The implied warranty of quiet enjoyment requires that landlords do the following when looking to enter their tenants’ rented premises.
- Provide a 2 days’ advance notice prior to entry. The only exception is when entering the unit due to an emergency.
- Have a legitimate reason for entry. In Arizona, a landlord can only enter their tenant’s rented premises for inspections, maintenance, improvements, emergencies, and property showings.
- Enter only normal business hours or as agreed with the tenant.
If you enter the tenant’s rented premises illegally, the tenant may be able to, among other things, sue you or break the lease without penalty.
8. Not provide the tenant with mandatory disclosures.
As a landlord in Arizona, federal and state law require that you provide a tenant with certain mandatory disclosures prior to allowing them to move in. Specifically, you must let the tenant know of the following information.
- Lead-based paint. This is required by federal law. It requires landlords renting out rental properties built before 1978 to provide tenants with information regarding lead-based paint concentrations.
- Educational materials regarding bed bugs, whether or they have infested your Arizona home. (Here is a guide on landlord responsibility for pest control in Arizona).
- The names and addresses of the parties tasked with the responsibility of managing the property.
- Disclosure about any nonrefundable fees that you require the tenant to pay.
- A copy of the Arizona Residential Landlord & Tenant Act (ARLTA).
- An agreement on how utilities are going to be shared among tenants.
- Disclosure on rent adjustments.
If you fail to provide these disclosures to a tenant, they may be able to cancel their lease without penalty.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What a Landlord Cannot Do in Arizona
Q: Is Arizona a landlord-friendly state?
A: Yes! Arizona is a landlord-friendly state. Below are some of the reason.
- Tenants cannot withhold rent for any reason.
- Landlords are not required to provide a grace period before charging a late fee. There is also no limit as to how much late fees you can charge a tenant.
- There are no additional protections to groups not outlined in the Federal Fair Housing Act.
- There is no rent control law and state law prohibits cities and towns from creating their own. Basically, this means that you can charge whatever amount of rent and increase it by any amount.
- There is no interest requirement for holding a tenant’s security deposit. The only exception is for mobile homes.
- Landlords have broad powers when it comes to evicting tenants. You can evict a tenant for multiple reasons, including nonpayment of rent, no lease, lease violation, and illegal acts.
Q: Can a landlord enter without permission in AZ?
A: No! This is one thing that a landlord cannot do in Arizona. To enter your tenant’s rented premises, you must have a legitimate reason, provide the tenant with a 2 days’ advance notice, and enter during normal business hours.
Q: How long does a landlord have to make repairs in Arizona?
A: Under the ARLTA, landlords have a duty to provide tenants with a habitable rental property. The law requires that landlords make repairs impacting a tenant’s safety or health within 5 days, and all other repairs within 10 days.
Q: Do landlords have to provide a refrigerator in Arizona?
A: No! Landlords don’t have to provide any appliances, including a microwave, stove, dishwasher, or a refrigerator. The only exception would be if the lease states otherwise.
Q: Can a landlord refuse to renew a lease in Arizona?
A: Absolutely! No law requires a landlord to renew the lease of a tenant for another term. The decision is solely the landlord’s. That said, what a landlord cannot do in Arizona is fail to renew it as a retaliatory tactic or for discrimination reasons.
These are all the things that a landlord cannot do in Arizona. That’s why it pays for one to familiarize themselves with the Arizona Residential Landlord & Tenancy Act (ARLTA) for a smooth landlording experience.
Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.
Sources: https://www.azag.gov, https://www.hud.gov/, https://housing.az.gov/, https://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=https://www.azleg.gov/ars/33/01343.htm, https://arizonalegalcenter.org, (ARS § 33-1321 et seq.),
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.