What Can I do When I Have a Bad Landlord?

What Can I do When I Have a Bad Landlord

When you rent a place to live, it is usually with the idea that the property will be in good condition and that any necessary repairs will be completed swiftly. Although these are reasonable expectations, some landlords will do all they can to cut corners on expenses and avoid paying for vital maintenance.? If you are a tenant in this situation, you may wonder: What can I do when I have a bad landlord?

Landlord Breach

Arizona law provides that if a landlord materially breaches a rental agreement, the tenant has the right to notify him or her of the problem and that their agreement will terminate if it is not remedied in ten days.? If the breach affects the tenant?s health and safety, he or she only has to provide the landlord with five days? notice. ??Although the landlord may have violated a term of the lease, the tenant still has to continue paying rent during this time.? The only time a tenant can withhold rent payments is when authorized by the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act. In general, this occurs when it can be shown that a landlord has deliberately or negligently failed to provide their tenant with utilities, heat or air-conditioning, running water, or reasonable amounts of hot water.? If the landlord is at fault, and will not remedy the situation, the tenant may be able to legally break the lease or sue for injunctive relief.

If a landlord fails to repair minor defects under A.R.S. ? 33-1363 and the issue can be repaired for either less than $300 or an amount equal to one-half of the monthly rent, whichever is greater, the tenant can notify in the landlord in writing that he or she is going to repair the problem at the landlord?s expense. If the landlord does make the repair within 10 days from receiving the notice, the tenant can hire a licensed contractor, submit a repair bill to the landlord, and deduct the cost of the repair work from his rent. ?However, remedy is not applicable is the condition was caused by the tenant or his or her guest.

If a tenant notifies a landlord of a material breach under ARS 33-1364 (wrongful failure to supply heat, air conditioning, cooling, water, hot water or essential services) and the landlord fails to comply, the tenant can: pay for the services on his or her own and deduct the costs from the rent, or get permission from the utility company to pay the landlord?s bill; file suit and seek damages based on the reduced fair rental value of the property; or find another place to live while the landlord fails to comply and be excused from paying rent during the non-compliance period.

If you believe your landlord has breached your agreement or is otherwise liable, it is critical that you consult with an experienced real estate attorney in order to thoroughly evaluate the merits of your case.


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