There have been a rash of cases in which people posing as landlords attempt to steal rent or security money out of unwary tenants. Over the years many scam artists have perpetrated this scheme: they go to apartments in low income communities at the time rent is due, introduce themselves as the new landlord, and accept rent money from the tenant. This practice has shown up in the news once again: in Buffalo a man stood in front of a house with a For Rent sign on it, showed the house to prospective tenants, and collected $250 security deposits. It turns out the house was vacant and the man simply installed a sign, stood in front of it, and stole people’s money.
This could easily happen in Arizona. The Arizona Tenants Union gets calls from time to time from tenants who are told to pay rent to a stranger. What should they do? The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, A.R.S. § 33-1322 requires a landlord to disclose the name of the person authorized to act on its behalf. Subsection (C) of this statute extends this obligation to successor landlords, owners or managers. It is the position of the Arizona Tenants Union that this means the prior landlord or manager must give you notice of a change in ownership or management. Absent this notification, we generally recommend that you continue to pay rent to the old entity disclosed on your lease. However, there are a lot of nuances in a situation like this; call us at (602) 652-2659 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will discuss the issue with you in detail.