Phoenix renters range from college students to young families to retirees. The Valley of the Sun is home to several colleges and universities and has become a thriving retirement destination. An increased demand in rental units as the local housing market slowly recovers from the 2008 crash has made renting in Phoenix a reality for all types of families, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
Keep your rental, and your relationship with your landlord, in good standing by understanding your rights as a renter. The four common questions below, accompanied by links to more information, are a good place to start.
Can I make a partial rent payment?
A landlord does not have to accept partial rent payments, according to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. However, it states that if a partial rent payment is accepted, it should be accompanied by a written agreement stating when the remaining balance of rent is due.
The Act covers all laws on renting in the state and answers many questions that typically crop up between tenants and landlords. Head to the Arizona Department of Housing website to download the full PDF.
Can my landlord charge me separately for utilities?
Yes. But, the Arizona Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities Handbook says the lease should explain how the landlord calculates your bill. It also says the landlord may only charge for the utilities you use, not those used by other renters.
The Arizona Attorney General’s website offers a full copy of the handbook, which will lead you through the rental rights from move-in to move-out. The best part is that it’s user friendly and easy to understand. The book also includes helpful forms in the back, like an apartment walk-through checklist and a form for the return of your security deposit.
How should I handle a serious health or safety problem in my apartment?
The Arizona Tenants’ Right and Responsibilities Handbook advises that serious problems include electrical issues or outside doors that don’t lock. If you have spoken with the landlord and the situation has not been fixed, the handbook says you should send a written notice, via certified mail with a return receipt, demanding that a serious problem be resolved within five days.
If you need help with landlord or lease issues, the Landlord/Tenant Counseling Program provides housing education, housing mediation services and counseling. It is the only only certified landlord/tenant counseling program in Arizona. Check out the site, or for additional help, you can email or call them with specific questions.
What can I do if I can’t afford to pay rent?
Plenty of Phoenix-based programs can help you if you’re struggling with rent. Rent Assistance compiles a directory of organizations that can help you pay your rent, from the local Salvation Army to a state charity that aids those needing kidney transplants.
Additionally, the City of Phoenix’s Section 8 housing program provides rental assistance for low-income families. Resources on the site include how to determine if you’re eligible for the program, and utility allowance calculations for single-family homes, apartments, and townhouses.
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