Understanding the Arizona slumlord laws, referred to as "slum laws," can protect you and your family from unsafe living conditions -- and help you to take action against these landlords. The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act outlines the rights and responsibilities of people renting apartments or houses. Landlords have to live up to basic responsibilities to keep the property they rent safe, and to prevent foreseeable injuries to their tenants. Tenants have to pay their rent in a timely fashion and report problems to their landlords immediately, to receive the appropriate response and protection from these laws.
Arizona law requires landlords to provide safe quarters for their tenants and prevent foreseeable injuries. This responsibility includes informing tenants about bedbugs and other pests, refraining from renting any property with an active bedbug infestation, maintaining common areas and keeping the heating, plumbing, ventilation and air conditioning equipment in working order. The law does not require landlords to provide air conditioning in their units, but if they offer the equipment, they must also maintain it.
Tenants must protect their new units from bedbugs, if they had an infestation in their previous residence. They also have to keep their units clean and as free of damage as possible. This includes keeping their guests from intentionally, negligently or accidentally damaging the unit or common areas. Tenants must also report any repairs their units or common areas require and allow the landlord or maintenance workers reasonable access to fix any problems. Repair requests must be in writing and, unless it is an emergency, the landlord has to give the tenant two days notice before entering a residence.
Arizona terms a residence a "slum" when it is unsafe or unhealthy for people to live in the home or unit. It may have fallen into disrepair or been involved in a fire or other disaster. A slum unit has one or more of the following problems: no drinking water, dangerous gas or electrical systems, excessive waste or bio-hazards, corrosive or combustible liquids, not enough water, no sanitation facilities or damage to the roof, sidewalk, stairs or railings. Arizona law requires the landlord to make repairs immediately.
A tenant is not liable to pay rent if the property is uninhabitable. However, she should take the appropriate steps to get the damages fixed, before ceasing to pay rent. She should request repairs in writing, and state that the problem makes the unit untenable. In serious cases, tenants may sue the landlord for temporary housing, if it exceeds the amount they would normally spend on rent. But they cannot sue for more than 25 percent of their monthly rent in emergency housing. Tenants also cannot request payment for temporary residence, until after they send a written repair request.