Resources

Tenant's Rights

Arizona loves its landlords. It shows it by rejecting rent control, making evicting easy, and letting landlords run wild with late fees, but you can fight back if you learn your rights and organize. This state's housing laws are complicated, and some housing codes intersect depending on your location. This is only a brief declaration of your rights, so we recommend learning more about the laws that affect you in our resources and elsewhere.

  • Living conditions: Your landlord must provide safe, sanitary, and livable housing conditions. This means there must be working plumbing, heat, ventilation, garbage disposal, and no pest infestations, among other rules.
  • Discrimination: You cannot be refused rent, charged more, or forced to follow different rules than other tenants because of your race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, religion, or disability.
  • Retaliation: Your landlord may not retaliate against you for reporting housing code violations or being part of a tenants union. Retaliation may look like increased rent, eviction, threats of evictions, or decreasing services to you within six (6) months of your actions.
  • Lock change: Your landlord may not force you or your things out of your home without a court order. This is called a "self-help" eviction, and your landlord may owe monetary damages if attempted.
  • Utility shut-off: Your landlord may not disconnect your utilities under any circumstance and may likewise owe you monetary damages if attempted.
  • Deposit: Your landlord may not charge you more than the equivalent of one and a half months rent for your security deposit. If nonrefundable, it must be stated. The landlord must return your security deposit within 14 days from the date you move out along with an itemized explanation for any deductions for repairs.
  • Privacy and respect: Your landlord must give two days' notice of intent to enter and only enter at reasonable times (like making repairs that you have asked for). Your landlord only has the right to immediate entry in a case of emergency or by court order. If they have entered your home without proper notice, or in a harassing manner, you can file an "injunction" to stop them from doing it again, and you may recover actual damages equal to at least one month's rent.

  • For in-depth information on Tenants Rights and Responsibilities, check out this handbook and the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
    Some landlords might act otherwise, but you have a right to housing regardless of what documents you have. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act and confirmed by Arizona Title 41 Article 7, it is illegal for landlords to ask for additional documentation or charge a different price because of a person's national origin. If your landlord asks you for documentation or threatens to contact ICE, immediately report this discrimination to:

  • The Southwest Fair Housing Council
  • The City of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department
  • The Attorney General's Office.

  • You should get try to get records of any incidents you feel you've been discriminated against. If you can, write notes of specific details, like dates, times, witnesses, and companies, as well as contact information, like names, phone numbers, and addresses. They may be gathering information against you, so be as thorough as you can.

    Collect any other related evidence; for example, if they're charging you a different price than advertised to others, you could make a copy of the advertisements and any letters about rent you've received. If you know someone that can show they received different treatment, note their name and address. This is another reason why talking with your community and ORGANIZING is so important, as you can clearly prove they're lying with the other tenants by your side.

    Read more here
    Lease Termination Notice Requirements in Arizona:
    In Arizona, you're not required to provide notice for fixed end date leases, the lease will expire on the last day of the lease. All of the remaining lease terms require written notice based on their length:
    • Notice to terminate a week-to-week lease: At least 10 days from lease expiration. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1375(A))
    • Notice to terminate a month-to-month lease: 30 days or more from lease expiration. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33-1375(B))

    Here are ‘justifiable' reasons to break a lease in Arizona:
    1. Early termination clause
      • Some modern lease agreements may provide specific terms that would allow you to terminate a lease early in exchange for a penalty fee. Read over the lease and look for language that outlines agreed-upon terms for ending the lease before the end of the fixed period, such as the amount of the fee (i.e. equal to 2 month's rent) and the amount of notice required (i.e. 30 days).
      • If a lease agreement contains an early termination clause, before executing it and paying the penalty fee, read further to learn about other conditions that, if met, would not require a penalty fee to be paid.
    2. You are a victim of domestic violence
      • State law (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1318) provides early termination rights for tenants who are victims of domestic violence.
      • Arizona can also require landlords to provide you with special rental previsions for your protection such as:
        • Proof of status: the landlord is entitled to verify the claim of Domestic Violence status.
        • Termination of Lease: proof of domestic status, you're allowed to terminate the lease without penalty.
        • Locks: landlords must change the locks if requested by a domestic violence victim at the tenant's expense.
    3. You are starting Active Military Duty
      • If you enter active military service after signing a lease, you have a right to break the lease under federal law. (War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. § § 501 and following.)
      • You must be part of the "uniformed services," which includes the armed forces, commissioned corps of the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the activated National Guard.
      • You must give your landlord written notice of your intent to terminate your tenancy for military reasons.
      • Once the notice is mailed or delivered, your tenancy will terminate 30 days after the date that rent is due, even if that date is several months before your lease expires.
    4. The Rental Unit is Unsafe or Violates Arizona Health and Safety Codes
      • If your landlord does not provide habitable housing under local and state housing codes, a court would probably conclude that you have been "constructively evicted"; this means that the landlord, by supplying unlivable housing, has for all practical purposes "evicted" you, so you have no further responsibility for the rent. Arizona law (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1363 to -1365) sets specific requirements for the procedures you must follow before moving out because of a major repair problem. The problem must be truly serious, such as the lack of heat or other essential service.
    5. Your Landlord Harasses You or Violates Your Privacy Rights
      • Under state law in Arizona, your landlord must give you two days' notice to enter rental property (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1343). If your landlord repeatedly violates your rights to privacy, or does things like removing windows or doors, turning off your utilities, or changing the locks, you would be considered "constructively evicted", as described above; this would usually justify you breaking the lease without further rent obligation.
    6. Other, if you don't have a legal justification to break your lease, you may still be off the hook for paying all rent due for the remaining lease term
      • This is because under Arizona Law ((Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1370)), your landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent your unit no matter your reason for leaving rather than charge you for the total remaining rent due under the lease. So you need to pay only the amount of rent the landlord loses because you moved out early.
      • If your landlord rerents the property quickly, you'll only be responsible for the amount of time the unit is vacant.
      • If the landlord can't find an acceptable tenant, then you'll be liable for paying rent for the remainder of your lease term.
    As a tenant, you are legally entitled to a rental property that meets your basic structural, health and safety standards and that it is in good repair. If your landlord fails to take care of important maintenance, such as a broken air conditioner, your rights include:
    • The right to withhold rent until repairs are made
    • The right to "repair and deduct" that is hire a licensed contractor to fix a serious defect that makes the unit unfit (or buy a replacement part or item and do it yourself) and deduct the cost from your rent. Submit the bill to your landlord including an itemized statement of the work completed and fill these out.

    Do you feel as if your landlord has failed to help? Start the following steps:
    • Before you do anything else, notify your landlord. Start with a phone call, and then follow up with an email or written notice. Provide your landlord with a written notice identifying the problem and informing them that they are in breach of the rental agreement, then give them a "reasonable period of time" to fix the problem. Take a look at this sample notice, which summarizes your options like those shown in the Sample Letters section as they pertain to air conditioning, below:
      [Example of Written Notice Here in Form A]

      Notice: If you are able to, hand deliver the notice or send it to your landlord by mail. If possible, hiring a process server will produce legal proof you sent your message. Make sure to keep copies of any notices you give to your landlord so you can show them to court.

    • If the landlord fails to supply air conditioning, you may do one of the following:
      • Give written notice (Form A) that the landlord has 5 calendar days to make the repair. If the landlord does not timely make the repair, you can then decide whether to terminate the lease and leave. If you decide to terminate the lease, you will need to provide an additional notice (Form B) that states your intended move-out date. You will be responsible for any rent during this time. See A.R.S. § 33- 1361(A).

      • Give written notice (Form A) that the landlord has 5 calendar days to make the repair. If the landlord does not timely make the repair, you may bring a lawsuit for an injunction (to force landlord to make repairs) and for money damages. See A.R.S. § 33-1361(B).

      • Give written notice (Form A) that if the landlord does not make the repair in 10 calendar days (or sooner as conditions require in an emergency), you will hire a licensed contractor to repair the air conditioning. You can check the license at the Arizona Registrar of Contractors at Contractors Search or (602) 542-1525, or Toll Free within AZ: 1-877-MY AZROC (1-877-692- 9762).
        Warning: You may only use this if the repair costs less than $300 or one-half of your monthly rent, whichever amount is greater. For example, if your rent is $700, the repair must stay under $350. You will be able to deduct the cost of that repair from your rent payment. See A.R.S. § 33-1363(A).
        After the contractor completes the repair, you will need to have the contractor fill out and sign a "Waiver of Lien" (See Form C of this Example) and provide you with an itemized bill marked "PAID." You must give your landlord copies of these documents, along with the "Self Help Remedy: Completion" notice, and payment of the amount of rent owed minus the deduction for the contractor's bill.

      • Give written notice (Form A) that the landlord has a reasonable time to repair. If the repair is not timely made, you can choose to procure reasonable amounts of air conditioning or cooling yourself. What does this mean? Examples are purchasing fans or a window-mounted air conditioning unit. If you take these steps, you will be able to deduct the "actual reasonable cost" 3 from your rent. You must keep all receipts from these purchases, and be able to prove that you purchased the items after the deadline stated on the notice you gave the landlord for fixing the air conditioning unit. See A.R.S. § 33-1364(A)(1).

      • Give written notice (Form A) that the landlord has a reasonable time to repair. If the repair is not timely made, you can choose to pay for reasonable, temporary substitute housing (such as renting a hotel room) until the landlord repairs the air conditioning in your home. Just like with the other remedies, you will need to keep all your receipts so you can prove that you used substitute housing only for the time period from the deadline stated on the notice until air conditioning was restored to your home. Warning: You may deduct a maximum of 125% of your rent amount for the substitute housing. For example, if your AC is out for a month and your rent is $800/month, you will be excused from the full $800 and can be reimbursed up to another $200 ($800 x 25%). If your AC is out for a week and your rent is $800/month, you can be excused for up to $250. See A.R.S. 33-1364(A)(3).

      • Give written notice (Form A) that landlord has a reasonable time to repair. If the landlord does not timely make the repair, you can sue the landlord to recover money for the reduced value of your home from the deadline stated on the notice until the air conditioning was restored to your home. See A.R.S. 33-1364(A)(2).


    Before you do any of these things, make sure that the circumstances justify you paying less rent and that you are complying with state legal requirements. Check with Arizona state laws when you consider the following:
  • The type of repair of problems that qualify for rent withholding or repair-and-deduct
  • The type of notice you must give to the landlord and the amount of time the landlord has to fix the problem before you can withhold rent or use the repair-and-reduct process.
  • The limit on how much rent you may withhold or deduct
  • Your protections from landlord retaliation (check the link)
  • Any other conditions that apply before you can withhold or deduct rent

  • Source: https://www.landlordtenantlawfirms.com/legal-advice/air-conditioner-repair-liability

    COVID-19

    Assistance

    We are doing our best to gather any resources that we find on housing aid/renter's aid here.

    Updated Document
    We recommend that anyone in immediate need of help getting food, supplies, clothing, and hygiene products should find a local Mutual Aid organization. Mutual Aid practices solidarity, not charity, in the belief that standing together not only protects the most vulnerable, but strengthens the community.

  • Phoenix Mutual Aid
    • They share food, water, clothing, toiletries, hygiene products, and cleaning supplies at a free pop-up at the intersection of Monroe and 7th St (113 N 6th) every Saturday morning from 8am-11am.
  • Puente Human Rights
  • Tucson Food Share
  • Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual Aid
  • Indigenous Mutual Aid has a great directory of Indigenous led mutual aid groups.

    Sample Letters

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    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    This includes forms for the first request, a waiver of lien for a contractor, and a confirmation that you repaired it because your landlord wouldn't. Community Legal Services AZ included these in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
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    Community Legal Services AZ included this checklist in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
    English
    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
    English
    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
    English
    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
    English
    Español

    Community Legal Services AZ included this form in its Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.