Arizona is generally viewed as a landlord-friendly state as it has several laws and regulations that favor landlords. This is also due to its lowest property tax rate in the country and flexibility regarding written notices for eviction laws.
Rent and Payment laws
Rent in Arizona is typically landlord-friendly but overall is lenient for both parties. Overall, the rules for payment, late payments, and rent limits are clear and straightforward.
Are written lease agreements mandatory in Arizona?
Yes. In Arizona, for leases longer than 12 months, a written rental agreement is required.
Security deposits can be charged in Arizona at one and a half times the monthly rent. In the event you receive written notice from your tenant that they are moving out, you have 14 business days to refund the security deposit.
Deductions can be made from what’s considered "unusual wear and tear," in addition to events such as pet damage, unpaid rent, or removal of items left behind by the tenant.
If your tenant has not received their full security deposit within 14 business days and they have notified you by a certified letter, they are entitled to obtain legal action through a small claims court.
Can I charge late fees for rent payments?
Late fees must be set forth in the written contract and must be a reasonable amount. Please note that there is a five-day grace period under any circumstances, meaning you can only charge late fees from the 6th day of the rent being overdue. Rent payments bounced by bank checks can incur a $25 charge plus any bank charges if disclosed in the rental contract.
Does Arizona practice rent control?
Landlords can raise the rent without limiting the amount only after the tenant's lease has expired. Rent increases on month-to-month leases need to be notified 30 days in advance, and there are no limits on how often you can increase the rent.
Accessing the rental property
In Arizona, landlords may enter the rental unit without permission if there's an emergency such as a fire or a serious water leak. Under all other circumstances, landlords must give at least two days' notice.
Do I need to rekey locks between tenants in Arizona?
You are not required to change the locks on the rental unit before after a tenant moves out, though it is highly recommended.
There are no specific state laws limiting or allowing pets. In the case of an emergency, if a tenant becomes deceased or incapacitated or if the tenant's emergency contact cannot be reached, a landlord is required to enter the rental unit to remove all pets to an animal shelter or a relative within twenty-four hours. This is a recent amendment to the Arizona Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, which previously regarded pets as property.
When and how can you evict a tenant?
The eviction of a tenant in Arizona can take one to six weeks, pending the type of eviction. Before initiating the eviction process, you must give your tenant notice and have just cause for early tenancy termination.
Just reasons for an eviction:
- Nonpayment of rent: If rent is past due, you must provide a five-day notice to pay.
- Violation of the rental agreement: Tenants have, by law, ten-day notice to comply and to correct the issue to avoid eviction. Violations can include false disclosure of the number of people living in the unit, the tenant's income, the tenant's social security number, employment status, and criminal history.
- Cause of a safety violation to the property: Here, you must let the tenant know five days before the option for eviction to allow for correction of the issue.
- At the end of the lease term, without further reasons by the landlord:
- If a tenant is renting based on a week-to-week term, you must provide a ten-day notice
- If rent is based on a month-to-month basis, you must provide a 30-day notice
If the tenant does not fix the issue or move out on their own within the given timeframe, you can start the eviction process.
The eviction process:
1. Posting notice and filing an Eviction Action (5-30 days)
2. Filing and serving the complaint: To continue with the eviction complaint, you must file a lawsuit with the court. For a statewide justice court, it costs $35, whereas the maximum you can claim in Eviction Action is $10,000.
Please remember that you must file in the jurisdiction where the rental property is geographically located and that the summons should be issued the same day the complaint is filed with the court.
A certified process server needs to serve the complaint at least two days before the eviction hearing either by giving a copy to the tenant in person or posting the document in a visible place at the rental unit along with mailing, via certified mail, a copy as well, not by you the landlord. (2 days before eviction)
3. Court Hearing: The hearing needs to occur three to six days following the summons date. Your tenants can submit a written answer, and they do not need to appear at the hearing itself, though if they do not show up at the hearing, it will be halted, and the ruling will be in your favor.
Unless the eviction is due to illegal activity, tenants have five days to appeal otherwise, it is within 24 hours (3-6 days after the summons date is issued; longer if a continuance or jury trial is requested)
4. Writ of Restitution: A writ of restitution is issued with the judge's rules in favor of the landlord, and then the eviction process proceeds. This is the last notice to the tenant to evict the rental unit before taking action to be removed from the property by law officials forcibly.
For illegal activity, the writ is issued 12-24 hours after the judgment, and for other eviction, the writ is for at least five days after the decision. (12 hours to 5 days, pending the eviction reason).
The property is returned to the owner: The tenant must move out immediately when the writ of restitution is in their possession. (Right away)
What can be done about squatters in Arizona?
Arizona has one of the most lenient policies on squatters. A squatter can claim possession after only two years if they occupied a neglected and abandoned property, after five years if the squatter paid taxes and cultivated the land, and after ten years for occupancy with cultivation only.
To gain possession of the residence, a squatter must:
- Make it obvious they are actually living on the property.
- Occupy a space that is no bigger than 160 acres
- Not share the property with anyone else.
- Not abandon or leave the property, even for a couple of weeks.
- Be hostile.
You can evict a squatter by filing a 'quiet title lawsuit' during or after the squatter files an adverse possession claim. In this case, the local court is being asked to determine who owns the property.
The 'guest removal law' is the primary law for removing squatters off your property. According to this law, law enforcement can evict unwelcome guests not listed on the lease since landlords cannot self-evict.
What is required of a landlord in Arizona?
- Before the lease begins, landlords must provide new tenants with a copy of the lease, let them know where they can find a copy of the ARLTA, and a checklist for new tenants.
- For all homes built before 1978, you must provide information about the concentrations of lead paint used on the property.
- You need to provide written material about bed bugs and whether they are present or not.
- You must provide the names and contact information of all those involved in managing the property.
- If the rental property has a pool, you must disclose this to your tenants.
- Follow all the building code requirements affecting the health and safety of my tenants.
- Maintain the premises fit and in habitable condition through repairs and ongoing maintenance.
- Observe that all of the property's common areas are safe and hygienic.
- Provide running water and hot water, heat, and air-conditioning as seasonal weather requires.
How does landlord insurance cover rental properties?
Landlord insurance can cover different scenarios and may be customized for your property needs:
- Liability coverage when a tenant is injured on your property
- Property damage: if a tenant causes any damage to the rental property, or in the case of fire, lightning, or hail
- Loss of rental income
Can I buy Honeycomb landlord insurance in Arizona?
Yes. You can find and buy Honeycomb's landlord insurance in Arizona - a fully customizable landlord insurance for multi-family properties, all accessible online. It covers:
- Landlord property protection that covers fire, wind, vandalism, hail, lightning,, electric or gas failures, or tenant-caused issues.
- Landlord liability protection helps cover landlord expenses if found responsible when someone is injured on your property if you are accountable for another property's damage, and also legal defense expenses and court decisions.