Are you thinking about Arizona as your next real estate investment opportunity? With beautiful sights and a lucrative real estate market, this state could be at the top of your list. However, with so many variations between states regarding rental laws and procedures, you may be feeling overwhelmed about diving into this new venture. You could be wondering: are background checks illegal in Arizona? What do I have to tell my tenants before they move in to my property? Below are your answers to those questions and more.
Each state has requirements about what landlords must tell their tenants prior to move in. A lot of these disclosures are to ensure the safety of the tenant and keep them in –the know about certain things regarding the property. It’s your responsibility as a landlord to be knowledgeable about what notices you must give your tenants and the information included within those notices.
In Arizona, landlords must provide a written statement regarding any nonrefundable fees, a notice with information about bedbug prevention, shared utilities, transaction privilege tax charge, and pool safety. Also, landlords must give their tenants a move-in form that lists any existing damages. This form guarantees that the tenant will not be charged for damages that the previous tenant committed upon moving out. The disclosure should also let the tenant know that they can be present at the move-in checklist completion if they so choose.
Rent and Fees
It’s important to be clear on what fees you can charge in the case that your tenants turn rent in late, write a check that bounces, or violate any other terms of the agreement. While there are no regulations on application fees or rent increases, Arizona late fee laws dictate that late fees are limited to $5 per day that rent is late. Additionally, the mandatory grace period in Arizona is five days.
If your tenant writes a check that bounces, you can charge a service fee up to $25. Also, make sure you keep up with maintenance and repairs of your units. In Arizona, if a landlord does not remedy a condition that they are responsible for as per the lease or the law, the tenant can withhold up to $300 from rent, or half of monthly rent, whichever is the greater amount. The tenant can also notify the landlord of their intention to repair and deduct, and if the landlord does not comply within 10 days, the tenant can hire a licensed contractor to fix the issue. The tenant can then deduct the actual and reasonable cost from rent.
Eviction laws in Arizona protect both tenants and landlords in the case that the tenant needs to be evicted from the property. There are multiple reasons why this may happen. In the case of nonpayment, the tenant has five days to pay the amount owed or vacate the property. If the tenant violates a lease term besides nonpayment, they are asked to fix their violation or move out within 10 days before the landlord can officially file for eviction. However, if the tenant’s breach materially affects health and safety, the landlord can send a notice that their lease will terminate in five days.
Landlords can also issue an unconditional notice to quit if the tenant commits some kind of irreparable act on the premises. This could include unlawful drug activity, assault, threatening or intimidating behavior, or another breach of their lease that could jeopardize the health or safety of the landlord or the property. In this case, the rental agreement is immediately terminated by the landlord.
When screening tenants, it’s crucial that you study fair housing laws to make sure you aren’t discriminating against anyone based on the seven protected classes. These classes are race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability.
However, you may use tenant credit reports and criminal histories during the tenant screening process to qualify tenants for your properties. When checking credit reports, you must not share tenant credit information with anyone who does not have a legal reason to view it. You must also dispose of it correctly, and tell applicants if their credit score or history was the reason you denied them.
As for Arizona criminal background check laws, background checks may be used during tenant screening but must be used fairly. This means that you should not use blanket policies to deny everyone with criminal convictions, but only deny an applicant when their criminal history suggests that they would pose a threat to neighbors or the property. However, landlords may discriminate based on convictions that are due to the illegal distribution or manufacture of drugs.
After reading this article, hopefully you have a better understanding of Arizona laws for tenants and landlords. It’s critical that you follow these laws to the best of your ability so that you treat your tenants as fairly as possible. Paying close attention to the rules and remaining legally compliant is the best way to avoid any lawsuits that could come your way.