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Arizona landlords face numerous requirements

Landlords owning commercial real estate must comply with numerous laws governing tenant rights. In fact, RentCafe listed Arizona as the fifth best state for renters to live based on its review of landlord-tenant laws across the country. The state scored 70 out of a possible 100 points in this report. Vermont had the most favorable laws and scored 90. Renters in Arkansas have the least protection because that state ranked last with a score of only 12.5.

Our state's renters have more legal advantages than tenants in other states. Among other things, renters must have 30-days' notice of a rent increase under a month-to-month lease.

Landlords are also prohibited from charging a security deposit worth over one and half month of rent. This deposit must be returned to a tenant within 14 days of lease termination. Other tenant rights include the ability to repair their units and deduct these costs from their rent. Rent can be withheld where landlords do not provide essential services. Landlords are also required to provide 48 hours of notice before entering a property.

However, tenants face legal obstacles. Our state and 13 other states allow service of an unconditional quit notice if renters commit a violation of their lease, which usually occurs in extreme circumstances. Landlords are required to provide five-days notice for lease termination because of unpaid rent and 10-days' notice of termination because of other lease violations.

These laws have become more important. Arizona residents have opted for renting over home ownership since the housing market crash around 10 years ago. Home ownership in the Phoenix-Mesa Scottsdale real estate market dropped from 68.6 percent in 2010 to 59 percent this year, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Since 2013, renter households grew by approximately five percent each year. Even in a recovered economy, apartment construction has been ongoing, and many projects have started or are planned in downtown Phoenix.

An attorney can help deal with landlord-tenant issues and assure that leases and real estate agreements comply with Arizona law. Legal representation can help assure that parties can pursue their legal remedies when disputes arise.

Source: Phoenix Business Journal, "Arizona is the fifth best state for renters' rights," Kara Carlson, March 8, 2012

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