Most residential leases and rental agreements in Arizona require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear and to cushion the financial blow if the tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here's a summary of landlord-tenant laws covering security deposits in Arizona.
Does Arizona law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
Yes. Under Arizona landlord-tenant laws, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of one and one-half months' rent for the security deposit.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Arizona for returning a security deposit?
Under Arizona law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit, with an itemized statement of deductions, within 14 days after the tenant has moved out. The tenant has the right to be present at the final inspection.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Arizona landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Arizona?
Yes. In addition to complying with Arizona laws on security deposit limits and how (and when) the deposit must be returned to tenants, landlords in Arizona must state in writing the purpose of any nonrefundable fee collected from the tenant. All fees not designated as nonrefundable are deemed refundable under Arizona landlord-tenant law.
Are there any exemptions from Arizona security deposit rules?
Yes. State law does not cover employees of the landlord, such as a manager, whose right to occupancy is conditioned upon employment in and about the premises.
Where can I look up Arizona law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Arizona law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Arizona Revised Statutes (Annotated) § 33-1321. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Arizona. For tips on looking up Arizona state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You can also find useful information in the state's tenant guide http://www.azag.gov/civil_rights/TenantRightsResponsibilities.pdf.