RESOURCE: Your rights as a renter

(Source: Tanawat Pontchour via 123RF) (Source: Tanawat Pontchour via 123RF)

In the City of Phoenix, renters can contact the Neighborhood Services Department's Landlord Tenant Program about issues ranging from air conditioning to bedbugs.

Landlord/Tenant Program
Neighborhood Services Department
200 W. Washington St., fourth floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003
24/hour information line: 602-534-4444 ext. 3

From the Guide to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act: What can the tenant do if the landlord fails to make repairs?

"The tenant has several options if the landlord fails to maintain the dwelling.

  1. Minor defects. The tenant has a right to have repairs made by a licensed contractor, after proper notice to the landlord. If the landlord fails to comply, the tenant can have the repairs done and deduct up to $300 dollars or one-half month’s rent, whichever is greater. The tenant must submit an itemized statement to the landlord and a lien waiver provided by the contractor. ARS §33-1363.
  2. Wrongful failure to supply essential services such as heat, air conditioning, cooling, water or hot water. If the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to provide essential services contrary to the rental agreement or the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may do one of the following.

a) Obtain services and deduct the actual reasonable cost from the rent;

b) Seek damages based on the decrease in the fair rental value of the dwelling;

c) Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord’s non-compliance. If the cost of the substitute housing is higher than the regular rent, the tenant may recover the additional cost from the landlord in an amount not to exceed 25 percent of the unpaid regular rent. ARS § 33-1364.

"A landlord who is aware of a problem and is slow to correct or repair it could be considered to have acted deliberately or negligently. The tenant cannot invoke the above remedies if the condition was caused by members of the tenant’s family through damage or misuse or was caused by any other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.

"The landlord has the right to disconnect the utilities in order to make repairs."

When it comes to communicating with your landlord (or her or her manager or agent), an organization called Arizona Tenants Advocates suggests you make sure it's all in writing. 

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Arizona Department of Housing

"The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act that pertains to standard rental housing was enacted to govern the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlord and tenant," according to the Arizona Department of Housing website. "The document can be downloaded for free. There is currently no state agency that enforces provisions in the Act, and because most landlord/tenant relations are private transactions, disputes that arise between landlord and tenants are generally considered private matters." 

Community legal services

Maricopa County Central Office
305 S. Second Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
602-258-3434  or 1-800-852-9075

[DOWNLOAD: Arizona Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities Handbook]

[DOWNLOAD: Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act]

The Arizona Department of Housing will mail you a copy at no charge. The phone number is 602-771-1000.

[DOWNLOAD: Guide to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act]