Arizona has some of the nation's stronger laws protecting tenants' rights. Renters in the state enjoy the right to withhold rent while awaiting significant repairs and protections for their security deposits. Evictions also take longer in Arizona than in most states. And individual cities often have laws that provide more protection than state laws.
Arizona caps the size of security deposits and prepaid rent at one and a half times the monthly rent. If the rent on a property is $500, for example, the landlord cannot request a security deposit and advance rent of greater than $750 combined. Additionally, landlords are required to return security deposits within 14 days of the move-out date. Tenants can sue landlords for unlawfully withheld security deposits and receive twice the amount of the withheld deposit in damages.
Maintenance and Repairs
State law requires landlords to maintain the habitability of rented properties. Depending on the situation, that can require making sure tenants have access to water, electricity and sanitation as well as air conditioning and weatherproofing. If the property requires major maintenance and the landlord refuses to complete the repairs, tenants have the right to withhold rent until he does. Alternatively, tenants can complete the repairs themselves and withhold the cost of repairs from the rent.
Notice and Entry
Under normal circumstances, both landlords and tenants can terminate a month-to-month lease agreement with 30 days' advance notice. For weekly leases, 10 days' notice is required. To protect the privacy of tenants, landlords are required to give two days' notice before entering a rented property. However, property owners can enter without notice in the event of an emergency like a burst pipe.
If a tenant falls behind on the rent, the landlord can issue a quit notice requiring the tenant to move out within five days. If the tenant pays the rent in full, he can keep the lease; if he doesn't, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings.
In the case of other lease violations, landlords have to issue quit notices giving the tenants 10 days to remedy the situation or move out. However, if the violation materially harms health and safety, a five-day notice is permissible. Finally, landlords can demand that tenants move out immediately if they are involved in a significant criminal violation on the property. These violations include drug trafficking, prostitution and homicide.
Nick Robinson is a writer, instructor and graduate student. Before deciding to pursue an advanced degree, he worked as a teacher and administrator at three different colleges and universities, and as an education coach for Inside Track. Most of Robinson's writing centers on education and travel.