Laws protecting "nightmare nanny" in California are similar in Arizona

By Jayson Chesler

PHOENIX -- The story of a nanny in California refusing to leave a family's home after she was fired may have some repercussions for those in Arizona. The laws protecting Diane Stretton in California are similar to some laws designed to protect tenants in Arizona.

Police did not intervene in the situation between Stretton and the Bracamonte family because the dispute was deemed a civil case, not something with criminal activity. Attorney Pouria Paknejad said that it would be viewed as a civil matter in Arizona, as well.

"This family invited this woman into their home on the express invitation of saying 'look, why don't you be our nanny? You can do some household chores for us and, in exchange, we'll give you room and board,'" Paknejad said.

However, when Stretton allegedly stopped working and refused to leave, it did not create a criminal case. Paknejad said that this was because of the agreement to exchange work for housing that the family and the nanny came to.

"What you're doing there is you're potentially creating a landlord-tenant relationship," Paknejad said. "There's several different types of relationships with people who enter your property, this is one of the ones that carry with it certain duties."

Those duties mean that the Bracamonte family must provide quality living conditions for Stretton. In the same way that a landlord is expected to keep functioning lights, running water and other agreed upon standards for his/her tenants, the family must keep everything functional for the nanny, since they agreed that she has a room in their home.

While the landlord-tenant laws in Arizona provide similar guarantees for tenants, Pakenjad did not discourage anyone from hiring a live-in nanny. Instead, Pakenjad recommended running a background check any potential live-in help.

Ideally, Pakenjad said the background check should include financial information like the person's credit score. However, someone must agree to having their credit checked before the check is performed on them. There are free search tools available for a basic background check at the Arizona Judicial Branch's website.


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