Except under very limited circumstances, YOU CANNOT WITHHOLD YOUR RENT FOR REPAIRS. For most repairs, the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides the following remedies:
- For minor repairs, WITH PROPER NOTICE you can pay up to half a month’s rent to make the repair and deduct the cost from the rent. Do not attempt to effectuate this remedy without calling ATU. We prepare “self-help” notices for our members. We make sure you comply with the specific procedural requirements for drafting and serving documents. The problem with this remedy is that it doesn’t correct the majority of conditions that affect renters. This is because of the limited amount of rent money you can spend on repairs.
- There are conditions that are so bad that you have to vacate all or part of the apartment immediately. Here, too, the landlord/tenant act provides a number of additional remedies. But again, these remedies are VERY SPECIFIC to the situation. Broken air conditioning, for example, has a very different remedy than flood or fire. Join ATU and we will help you effectuate whichever remedies are appropriate for your situation.
- You can legally terminate your lease. This is a complicated process and you should not attempt to invoke this right without contacting ATU.
- You can also contact the neighborhood services department in your city (see links and resources) and try to can get an inspector to come out. If the condition is serious enough, the inspector might actually cite a violation. But an order to repair a condition does will not necessarily mean the landlord is going to obey it. And enforcing the order is a lengthy, time-consuming administrative process.
ATU will also help you organize a tenant association in your building. If the tenants get together, they can speak to the landlord in a single voice. Under some circumstances they can collectively pool half their month’s rent to make building-wide repairs. A landlord is not going to be hurt if one tenant uses $300 to make repairs to his apartment. But if 100 tenants spend $300 each to make repairs, that’s $30,000 they’re keeping from the landlord. This is a significant amount of money. Even the threat to take such an action can change the landlord/tenant relationship.
It’s time to put the tenants in the driver’s seat for a change.
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