What are my daughter's rights to fight her eviction?
04/27/2009 - Landlord Tenant - State: ALL #16209
My daughter has been served an eviction notice. She said her rent check bounced without her realizing it, and was not told the check did not go through. When she went to pay rent she was told that she has been served with eviction notice and refused to accept rent payment. She and I do not know her rights to court and has a court date tomorrow. The landlord has also not fixed her air condition since she moved in in January of 2008 and her fire extingisher is not functioning. She has told her landlord this (but has not done so in writting) several times and still these items were not repaired. My concern is the court case tomorrow and what her rights are and what she needs to do?
A landlord generally has a duty to keep the premises in a habitable condition and to comply with housing codes. A tenant seeking to use this theory as a defense to eviction should provide written notice to the landlord that there is a defect in the property, as notice to the landlord is required in order to claim it as a defense to eviction. In an eviction action, the tenant should bring any proof of the landlord's failure to uphold these duties. In some cases, the tenant may also prove that the landlord had a practice of accepting late rent payments in the past, and argue that the demand for timely rent payment has been waived.
In Arizona, To bring an eviction action for non-payment of rent which is at least five days in arrears, the landlord is not required to serve a notice of termination to the tenant. State law mandates that the trial be held no sooner than five and no later than thirty business days after the complaint was filed. In addition to determining the right to actual possession, the court may assess damages, attorney fees and costs.
The landlord has a duty to supply reasonable air-conditioning or cooling where such units are installed and offered, when required by seasonal weather conditions, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air-conditioning, cooling or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection. Security deposits must be returned within 14 business days from the time the tenant vacates the premises. The landlord must provide the tenant an itemized list of all deductions together with the amount due and payable to the tenant, if any. Unless other arrangements are made in writing by the tenant, the landlord shall mail the itemized list and any amount due, by first class mail, to the tenant's last known place of residence.
The following are AZ statutes:
33-1324. Landlord to maintain fit premises
A. The landlord shall:
1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety.
2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
3. Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
4. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him.
5. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal.
6. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, reasonable heat and reasonable air-conditioning or cooling where such units are installed and offered, when required by seasonal weather conditions, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air-conditioning, cooling or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
B. If the duty imposed by subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is greater than any duty imposed by any other paragraph of this section, the landlord's duty shall be determined by reference to that paragraph.
C. The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing, supported by adequate consideration, that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in subsection A, paragraphs 5 and 6 of this section, and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations and remodeling, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith, not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section.
D. The landlord and tenant of any dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations or remodeling only if:
1. The agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration.
2. The work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section.
3. The agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.
33-1364. Wrongful failure to supply heat, air conditioning, cooling, water, hot water or essential services
A. If contrary to the rental agreement or section 33-1324 the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to supply running water, gas or electrical service, or both if applicable, and reasonable amounts of hot water or heat, air-conditioning or cooling, where such units are installed and offered, or essential services, the tenant may give reasonable notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may do one of the following:
1. Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat and essential services during the period of the landlord's noncompliance and deduct their actual reasonable cost from the rent. If the landlord has failed to provide any of the utility services specified in this section due to nonpayment of the landlord's utility bill for the premises, and if there is no separate utility meter for each tenant in the premises such that the tenant could avoid a utility shutoff by arranging to have services transferred to the tenant's name, the tenant may either individually or collectively with other tenants arrange with the utility company to pay the utility bill after written notice to the landlord of the tenant's intent to do so. With the utility company's approval the tenant or tenants may pay the landlord's delinquent utility bill and deduct from any rent owed to the landlord the actual cost of the payment the tenant made to restore utility services. The tenant or tenants may continue to make such payments to the utility company until the landlord has provided adequate assurances to the tenant that the above utility services will be maintained.
2. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.
3. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord's noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance. In the event the periodic cost of such substitute housing exceeds the amount of the periodic rent, upon delivery by tenant of proof of payment for such substitute housing, tenant may recover from landlord such excess costs up to an amount not to exceed twenty-five per cent of the periodic rent which has been excused pursuant to this paragraph.
B. A landlord shall provide all utilities and services specified in the lease agreement.
C. A landlord shall not terminate utility services as specified in subsection A of this section which are provided to the tenant as part of the rental agreement, except as necessary to make needed repairs or as provided in section 33-1368. Subsequent to the execution of the rental agreement, a landlord may not transfer the responsibility for payment of such utility services to the tenant without the tenant's written consent.
D. If a landlord is in violation of subsection C of this section, the tenant may recover damages, costs and reasonable attorneys fees and obtain injunctive relief. Nothing in this section shall preclude a tenant's right to recover damages as specified in section 33-1367.
E. A lease agreement shall not contain any terms contrary to this section.
F. In addition to the remedy provided in paragraph 3 of subsection A of this section, in the event the landlord's noncompliance is deliberate, the tenant may recover the actual and reasonable cost or fair and reasonable value of the substitute housing not in excess of an amount equal to the periodic rent.
G. If the tenant proceeds under this section, he may not proceed under section 33-1361 or section 33-1363 as to that breach, except as to damages which occur prior to the tenant proceeding under subsection A or B of this section.
H. The rights under this section do not arise until the tenant has given notice to the landlord and such rights do not include the right to repair. Such rights do not arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.
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04/27/2009 - Category: Landlord Tenant - State: ALL #16209
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