Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Arizona

A breakdown of laws every Arizona landlord and tenant needs to know.

By , Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

Arizona laws address many aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including security deposits, late rent, and evictions. The following is a summary of key laws that affect nearly all Arizona landlords and tenants.

Arizona Rental Application and Tenant Screening Laws

Can Arizona landlords charge an application fee?

Yes. There is no law in Arizona that prohibits landlords from charging an application fee. The purpose of the fee must be stated in writing by the landlord.

Can Arizona landlords ask about an applicant's criminal history?

It depends. A city or county law might prohibit landlords from asking about an applicant's criminal history and running a criminal background check, but there is no statewide law prohibiting landlords from doing so.

Even if the city or county where the rental is located does not prohibit landlords from considering applicants' criminal histories, landlords must be careful. When landlords consider applicants' criminal history, they must do so in a consistent, nondiscriminatory manner. If a landlord's practice of considering criminal history has a discriminatory effect—for example, if the landlord asks only applicants of a certain color for criminal history information—the landlord is engaging in illegal discrimination and can be subject to penalties. Also, landlords can reject applicants only for past convictions that are "directly-related" to the application—in other words, convictions that have a negative bearing on a legitimate business concern of the landlord.

Fair Housing Laws

All landlords need to follow federal and state antidiscrimination laws when screening applicants for a rental.

Federal fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating on the basis of:

Arizona state law prohibits discrimination on the same grounds as federal law. For more information about fair housing laws in Arizona, visit the Arizona Department of Housing's website.

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Arizona Security Deposit Laws

Arizona law regulates how much landlords can charge for a security deposit, how landlords can use the security deposit, and when they must return it.

What is the maximum security deposit an Arizona landlord can charge?

Arizona landlords can charge no more than one and one-half month's rent as a security deposit. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1321 (2024).)

Do Arizona landlords have to pay interest on security deposits?

No. Arizona state law does not require landlords to pay interest on security deposits.

Can Arizona landlords charge nonrefundable cleaning fees? Pet fees?

Arizona landlords can charge nonrefundable fees so long as the purpose of the fee is stated in writing. All fees not designated as nonrefundable are refundable.

How long do Arizona landlords have to return a security deposit?

Arizona landlords must itemize and return the security deposit within 14 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) after termination of the tenancy, delivery of possession, and demand of the tenant. If the tenant doesn't dispute the deductions or the amount due and payable within 60 days after receiving the itemization, further claims by the tenant are waived. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1321 (2024).)

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Required Landlord Disclosures in Arizona

Arizona landlords must disclose the following:

  • Separate utility charges. If the landlord charges separately for gas, water, wastewater, solid waste removal, or electricity by installing a submetering system, landlord may recover the charges imposed on the landlord by the utility provider, plus an administrative fee for the landlord for actual administrative costs only, and must disclose separate billing and fee in the rental agreement. If landlord uses a ratio utility billing system, the rental agreement must contain a specific description of the ratio utility billing method used to allocate utility costs. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1314.01 (2024).)
  • Owner or agent identity. Landlord must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving notices and demands. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1322 (2024).)
  • Business tax pass through. If the landlord pays a local tax based on rent and that tax increases, landlord may pass through the increase by increasing the rent upon 30 days' notice (but not before the new tax is effective), but only if the landlord's right to adjust the rent is disclosed in the rental agreement. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1314 (2024).)
  • Availability of Landlord and Tenant Act. Landlords must inform tenants in writing that the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is available on the Arizona department of housing's website. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1322 (2024).)
  • Bed bug information. Landlords must provide existing and new tenants with educational materials on bed bugs, including information and physical descriptions, prevention and control measures, behavioral attraction risk factors, information from federal, state, and local centers for disease control and prevention, health or housing agencies, nonprofit housing organizations, or information developed by the landlord. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1319 (2024).)
  • Smoke detectors. Landlords must install smoke detectors and give tenant written notification of tenant's responsibilities (tenant must maintain it unless tenant gives written notification to the landlord of its malfunction, at which point landlord must maintain it). (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-1637 (2024).)

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Small Claims Lawsuits in Arizona

What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in Arizona small claims court?

The most you can sue for in an Arizona small claims court is $3,500. Justice Courts, which are similar to small claims courts but with more procedures, have a limit of $10,000. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 22-501 to 22-525; 22-201 to 22-284 (2024).)

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Arizona Late Fees and Other Rent Rules

Is there a grace period for paying rent in Arizona?

There isn't a legal grace period for paying rent in Arizona. However, the landlord and tenant can agree in the lease or rental agreement to have a grace period.

Can Arizona landlords charge tenants late rent fees?

Arizona landlords can charge tenants late fees only when the details about late fees are set forth in a written lease or rental agreement. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(B) (2024).) Late fees must also be reasonable—an estimate of the cost that the landlord incurs because rent is late (for example, any interest or collection costs)—otherwise, a court might not enforce payment of late fees.

Can Arizona landlords raise the rent?

Arizona landlords cannot raise the rent during the term of a lease unless the lease specifically allows them to do so. When a tenant has a month-to-month rental agreement, on the other hand, Arizona landlords can raise the rent by giving the tenant at least 30 days' written notice.

Arizona landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example only for members of a certain race. Also, Arizona landlords may not use a rent increase in retaliation against a tenant for exercising a legal right—for example, in response to a legitimate complaint to a local housing agency about a broken heater. Retaliation is presumed when the landlord takes certain actions within six months of the tenant's act. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1381 (2024).)

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Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent in Arizona

What can Arizona tenants do when a landlord doesn't make repairs or provide services?

When an Arizona landlord fails to provide running water, gas or electrical service, reasonable amounts of hot water or heat, air conditioning (when already installed and offered), or essential services, the tenant can do one of the following:

  • get the service and deduct the actual cost (must be reasonable) from the rent
  • sue for damages based on how the rental unit is worth less than the rent paid because of the repair problems, or
  • move out until the landlord fixes the problem (the tenant doesn't have to pay rent, and if the temporary housing costs more than the rental, the tenant can sue the landlord for the excess cost up to 25% of the original rent).

When an Arizona landlord fails to provide a habitable residence and the reasonable cost of the fix is less than $300 or an amount equal to one-half the monthly rent, the tenant can sue the landlord or notify the landlord of the tenant's intent to correct the issue at the landlord's expense. After being notified in writing, if the landlord doesn't fix the issue within 10 days, the tenant can have the work done by a licensed contractor, submit an itemized statement and waiver of lien, and deduct the cost of the work from the rent payment.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-1363 to 33-1365 (2024).)

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Arizona Tenants' Maintenance Duties

Under Arizona law, tenants have an affirmative duty to:

  • comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • keep their unit clean and safe
  • dispose of all trash in a clean and safe manner
  • keep all plumbing fixtures clean
  • use the unit's mechanical systems (including appliances and elevators) in a reasonable manner
  • not deliberately or negligently damage any part of the rental (or allow another person to do so)
  • conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, and
  • promptly notify the landlord in writing of any situation requiring maintenance or repairs.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1341 (2024).)

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Arizona Termination and Eviction Rules

Arizona state laws specify when and how landlords can terminate tenancies. Landlords must officially terminate a tenancy by giving the tenant a notice before they can file an eviction lawsuit.

There are five types of termination notices in Arizona:

  • Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: If the tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, the landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to pay rent. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has five days to pay rent or move out. If the tenant moves out without paying rent, the landlord can still sue for the amount due. If the tenant doesn't pay rent or move out within five days of receiving the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(B) (2024).)
  • Five-day Notice to Cure or Quit: When a tenant fails to maintain the rental unit, and that lack of maintenance affects the health and safety of the tenant or other tenants on the premises, the landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to cure (fix the problem) or quit. The notice must state that the tenant has five days to perform the maintenance on the rental unit or move out. If the tenant moves out without fixing the violation, the landlord can use the security deposit to cover any damage (and sue for any damage that is more than the security deposit). If the tenant doesn't move out or make the necessary repairs by the deadline, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(A) (2024).)
  • 10-Day Notice to Cure or Quit: When a tenant violates the lease or rental agreement (or provides false information in their rental application), the landlord can give the tenant a 10-day notice to cure. The notice must state that the tenant has 10 days to fix the violation or move out. If the tenant moves out without fixing the violation, the landlord can use the security deposit to cover any damage caused by the tenant (and sue for any damage that is more than the security deposit). If the tenant doesn't move out or fix the violation by the deadline, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(A) (2024).)
  • 10-Day Unconditional Quit Notice: If the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement a second time during the tenancy, or lies about their criminal record on their application, the landlord doesn't have to give the tenant a chance to fix the violation. Instead, the landlord can give the tenant a notice that describes the violation and informs the tenant that they have 10 days to move out. If the tenant doesn't move out by the deadline, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(A) (2024).)
  • Unconditional Quit Notice: In some instances, the landlord can give the tenant a notice requiring the tenant to move out immediately. There must be a breach that is "both material and irreparable that occurs on the premises." Some actions that might constitute such a breach include:
    • discharge of a weapon
    • homicide
    • prostitution
    • criminal street gang activity
    • use or sale of illegal drugs, and
    • assaults or acts that threaten harm to others.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(A) (2024).)

Read more about the eviction process and defenses to eviction in Arizona.

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Arizona Rules About Landlords' Access to Property

In all states, even in the absence of a statute, landlords can enter a rental without giving notice in order to deal with a true emergency (an imminent and serious threat to health, safety, or property); and when the tenant has abandoned the property (left for good). Arizona law also addresses when and how landlords can enter rental property in non-emergency situations.

How much notice does an Arizona landlord have to give a renter before entering the rental?

Landlords must give 2 days' notice. The notice period doesn't apply, and the tenant's consent is assumed, if the landlord needs to enter pursuant to a tenant's request for maintenance. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-1341, 33-1343 (2024).)

Does a landlord's entry notice need to be in writing?

Arizona law doesn't require the entry notice to be in writing, but it's always a good idea for landlords to do so.

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Other Arizona Landlord-Tenant Laws

Does Arizona have rent control?

No. Arizona does not have statewide rent control, nor does it allow cities or counties to enact their own rent control laws.

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Where to Find Arizona Landlord-Tenant Statutes

If you want to read the text of a law itself, such as state security deposit rules, start by checking citations for Arizona landlord-tenant statutes. To access the statutes themselves, see the Arizona State Legislature's website.

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Local Ordinances Affecting Arizona Landlords and Tenants

Cities and counties often pass local ordinances, such as health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and anti-discrimination rules that affect landlords and tenants. Many municipalities have websites—just search for the name of a particular city in Arizona and then do a search when you're on the site.

Municode is a good source for finding local governments online. Also, your local public library or office of the city attorney, mayor, or city or county manager can provide information on local ordinances that affect landlords and tenants in Arizona.

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Federal Landlord-Tenant Laws and Regulations

Congress and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have enacted laws and regulations that apply to the landlord-tenant relationship in Arizona. These laws and regulations address topics such as discrimination and landlord responsibilities to disclose environmental health hazards, such as lead-based paint.

The U.S. Code is the starting place for most federal statutory research. It consists of 53 separate numbered titles, each covering a specific subject matter. Most federal regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations ("CFR"). To access the U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations online, see the federal section of the Library of Congress's legal research site.

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Nolo Resources on Legal Research and Landlord-Tenant Law

For more information on legal research, check out Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law, by Stephen Elias (Nolo). This nontechnical book gives easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions on how to find legal information.

You'll also find a wealth of information in Nolo's landlord-tenant books.

For landlords:

For tenants:

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Types of Rentals Not Covered by Arizona Residential Landlord-Tenant Law

The following types of living arrangements are not covered by Arizona's residential landlord-tenant laws:

  • occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to the purchaser's interest
  • occupancy by a member of a social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization
  • transient occupancy in a hotel, motel or recreational lodging
  • occupancy by an employee of a landlord as a manager or custodian whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment at the premises, and
  • occupancy in or operation of public housing as authorized, provided or conducted under or pursuant to any federal law or regulation.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1308 (2024).)

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