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LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTES ARTICLES

mail delivery rule

‘Mail Delivery Rule’ Presumes Landlord Received Notice

By Christopher Combs | October 13, 2019

Question: We leased a small office building in Show Low for five years, with an option to renew for five years. This option to renew for five years required at least 60 days’ notice to the landlord prior to the end of the lease. The landlord lives in Phoenix, so we mailed to the landlord our notice to renew the lease for five years. This mailing, both by first class and certified mail, was almost 90 days prior to the expiration of the lease. The certified mail came back a few days later marked “unclaimed,” but the first class mail…

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stack of cash

Difference Between Liquidated Damages, Breach of Contract Penalty

By Christopher Combs | August 18, 2019

Question: Our daughter attends ASU, and we personally guaranteed a one-year lease for her Tempe condominium. The lease expiration date is May 31. Our daughter, however, moved out of the Tempe condominium one month early at the end of April to live with us until she goes to Europe for three months. My daughter’s friend is going to ASU summer school, and she immediately signed a new lease for the same rent and moved into the Tempe condominium on May 1. My daughter’s lease provides for damages in the amount of a 60-day rent payment for early termination of the…

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Transferring a Mortgage

Lease Option to Purchase Must Have Specific Terms

By Christopher Combs | July 11, 2019

Question: We are leasing a small building in a Chandler industrial park for five years. After five years we want to have the option to purchase this small building in “as is” condition. Our broker says that this option to purchase only needs to be in a lease addendum that states that there will be an appraisal for the amount of the purchase price, and that we will purchase the industrial building in “as is” condition. We don’t want to spend a lot of time and legal fees now because whether we exercise this option to purchase will depend on…

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Can Landlord and Tenant Create a Maintenance Deal?

By Christopher Combs | April 15, 2019

Question: We are negotiating a one-year lease for a North Phoenix home. The landlord wants us to be responsible for maintaining the heating and air-conditioning systems in the home. The landlord is willing to reduce the rent by $200 per month. Can we agree with the landlord to be responsible for maintaining the home in exchange for this $200 reduction in the rent? Answer: Probably. A landlord is required to maintain the premises in a fit and habitable condition.  This requirement includes having to keep all heating and air-conditioning systems in working order.  The landlord and tenant in the rental…

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Tenants Have Protection in Foreclosures

By Christopher Combs | January 3, 2019

Question: We have been renting a home in Chandler for several years. We just signed another one-year lease. Two nights ago a process server came by and posted a notice of foreclosure in our front yard. Our landlord lives in Chicago and has not returned our phone calls. If our home is sold in foreclosure, when will we have to move? Answer: In general, a federal law protecting tenants in their homes during any foreclosure by the landlord’s mortgage lender has been in effect since 2009, and has been recently renewed with no expiration date. If you are a bona fide…

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Occupation not a Protected Class Under Fair Housing

By Christopher Combs | May 28, 2018

Question: My wife and I recently moved to the Phoenix area from New York. We are both lawyers, and we have credit scores in the 800s. We wanted to rent a nice home in Paradise Valley for a year, until we decided where we want to live permanently. We signed a lease for this home and our real estate agent presented the lease to the landlord for his signature. The landlord was pleased with the terms of the lease, but when he did a credit check and learned that we were lawyers, he refused to sign the lease. We can’t believe…

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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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