Arizona landlord-tenant law covers many important issues that should be spelled out in leases and rental agreements. In addition to basic business details, such as when rent is due, rental documents in Arizona should provide information on issues such as notice required for landlords to enter rental property (Arizona requires at least two days' advance notice).
Here are 11 important items to cover in your Arizona lease or rental agreement.
1. Names of all tenants. Every adult who lives in the rental unit, including both members of a couple (married or unmarried), should sign the lease or rental agreement. This makes each tenant legally responsible for the full amount of the rent, proper use of the property, and all other terms of the agreement. This means that a landlord can legally seek the entire rent from any one of the tenants should the others skip out or be unable to pay; and if one tenant violates an important term of the tenancy (such as bringing in a dog contrary to your no-pets policy), you can terminate the tenancy for all tenants on that lease or rental agreement.
2. Limits on occupancy. Your agreement should clearly specify that the rental unit is the residence of only the tenants who have signed the lease and their minor children. This way, you'll have control over who lives in your property (ideally, people whom you have screened and approved), and the number of occupants. The value of this clause is that it gives you grounds to evict a tenant who moves in a friend or relative, or sublets the unit, without your permission.
3. Term of the tenancy. Every Arizona rental document should state whether it is a rental agreement or a fixed-term lease. Here's the difference:
4. Rent and related charges. Your lease or rental agreement should specify the amount of rent; when it is due (typically, the first of the month), and whether there's any grace period; and how rent is to be paid, such as by mail to your office. To avoid confusion and head off disputes with tenants, spell out these details, plus:
5. Security deposit. To avoid confusion and legal hassles over deposits, your Arizona lease or rental agreement should be clear on the following:
It's also a good idea (although not legally required in Arizona) to include details on where the security deposit is being held and whether interest on the security deposit will be paid to the tenant.
6. Landlord entry to rental property. To avoid tenant claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy rights, your lease or rental agreement should clarify your legal right of access to the property -- for example, to make repairs -- and state how much advance notice you will provide the tenant before entering. Arizona state law requires that you give at least two days' advance notice (except in case of emergency).
7. Restrictions on tenant illegal activity. To avoid trouble among your tenants, prevent property damage, and limit your exposure to lawsuits from residents and neighbors, you should include an explicit lease or rental agreement clause prohibiting disruptive behavior, such as excessive noise, and illegal activity, such as drug dealing.
8. Pets. If you do not allow pets, be sure your lease or rental agreement is clear on the subject. If you do allow pets, you should identify any special restrictions, such as a limit on the size or number of pets or a requirement that the tenant will keep the yard free of all animal waste.
9. Repairs and maintenance. Your best defense against rent-withholding hassles and other disputes (especially over security deposits) is to clearly set out responsibilities for repairs and maintenance in your lease or rental agreement, including:
10. Disclosures. Federal law require landlords to make certain lead-based paint disclosures before tenants move in. Your lease or rental agreement is a good place to do this. Arizona also requires landlords to inform tenants of the availability of the state's landlord-tenant act on the Secretary of State's website.
11. Other tenant restrictions. Be sure your lease or rental agreement spells out any other legal restrictions, such as limits on the type of business a tenant may run from home. Important rules and regulations covering parking and use of common areas should be specifically mentioned in the lease or rental agreement.
For Arizona rental documents, including leases and rental agreements, see the Real Estate and Rental Property Forms section of Nolo. These ready-to-use legal forms include detailed, clause-by-clause instructions, that cover the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Arizona. Options include the following: