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LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTES ARTICLES

Do Renters Pay HOA Fines?

By Christopher Combs | May 24, 2018

Question: I am the president of our HOA in Chandler. One of our homeowners has rented her home to a young ASU student. He has a motorcycle that he drives at dangerous speeds in our community, and he has ignored the complaints from other homeowners. We have contacted the elderly lady who owns the home, and she said that there is nothing that she can do. Our CC&Rs authorize us to fine homeowners who drive at dangerous speeds in our community. Our written fine schedule says that the first fine can be $50 and the second fine can be $100. We…

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How to Exercise a Lease Option to Purchase

How to Exercise a Lease Option to Purchase

By Christopher Combs | April 16, 2018

Question: I am renting a three-bedroom home in Northwest Phoenix. The lease has a one-paragraph option to purchase. The lease will expire shortly, and I have notified the owner of the home that I intend to exercise the option to purchase. What do I need to do to exercise our option to purchase? Answer: A lease containing a provision providing the tenant with an option to purchase the property should state the specific terms of purchase. The best option to purchase provisions use an executed purchase contract, or at least a rough draft of a purchase contract, as an exhibit to…

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Abusive Husband

Abusive Husband Enables Wife to Cancel Lease

By Christopher Combs | February 18, 2018

Question: My husband and I have leased a home in Scottsdale through next September. Although my husband has physically abused me in the past, this time I had to get a court protective order. I am filing for divorce, and moving back to Colorado to stay with my parents.  Do I still have responsibility for lease payments until September even though I am terrified to be near my husband? Answer: Probably not. A.R.S. § 33–1318 authorizes a victim of domestic violence to terminate a lease within 30 days if certain requirements are met, e.g., delivery to the landlord of a…

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Lawsuit

Landlord Can Sue Former Tenant for Defamatory Internet Comments

By Christopher Combs | January 21, 2018

Question: We own a rental home in Gilbert. We had a tenant who was like the crazy tenant that Michael Keaton played in the movie “Pacific Heights.” We were finally able two months ago to evict this tenant, who promptly posted defamatory statements on Yelp.com and other websites about both us and the rental home. We have been unable to rent the home, and two prospective tenants changed their minds for no reason. Is there anything that we can do? Answer: Yes. Your former tenant can be liable to you for damages because of untruthful and defamatory online statements that…

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Locked Out By Landlord

Lockout by Landlord for Breach of Commercial Lease

By Christopher Combs | January 7, 2018

Question: We own a small industrial building in Gilbert with one tenant. Under our lease there is a clause that prohibits the storage of poisonous and noxious chemicals in the building. We became aware that our tenant was storing large containers of sulfuric acid in the building. We then gave our tenant the 10-day written notice to correct the problem as required by the lease. On the 10th day the tenant said that the large containers of sulfuric acid had been removed. However, I inspected the premises last night and the large containers were still there. Can we lock out…

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Are Landlords Liable for Information they Give Out?

By Christopher Combs | December 19, 2017

Question: In a recent column you said that an apartment landlord has the right to ask former landlords if the tenant had any problems, such as late rent payments or damage to the apartment. We own an apartment building in Chandler and frequently get calls from landlords about one of our former tenants. Do we have any liability to our former tenant if the information disclosed to the new landlord is wrong, and our former tenant is unable to rent the apartment? Answer: If you incorrectly communicated the tenant’s rental history to the new landlord, and your former tenant was unable…

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Landlords Can Check with Former Landlords on Prospective Tenants

By Christopher Combs | November 6, 2017

Landlords Can Check with Former Landlords on Prospective Tenants   Question: We just purchased a small apartment complex in Glendale. Can we demand that a prospective tenant furnish names of former landlords? If so, are we allowed to contact these former landlords to ask if the former tenant was a good tenant, e.g., paid rent on time or damaged the apartment?   Answer: Yes, but only if you have the same procedure for all prospective tenants, and don’t unlawfully discriminate against a protected class under fair housing laws. As a new owner of an apartment complex, you should consider joining the Arizona…

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Text Message Preferred over Phone Call for Landlord Entry Notice

By Christopher Combs | September 18, 2017

Text Message Preferred over Phone Call for Landlord Entry Notice   Question: I own several rental properties in Chandler. Under the landlord-tenant statutes in Arizona, I know that I have the right to inspect any of my rental properties with at least two days’ notice to the tenant. I recently received a newsletter stating that this inspection notice can be in writing, in person, or over the phone. I understand notice in writing or in person, but is a landlord allowed to give the inspection notice by phone?   Answer: A.R.S. § 33-1343 simply says that “notice” is required, so notice by…

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