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LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTES ARTICLES

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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Eviction Notice

Boyfriend is Just an Implied Tenant, and Can be Evicted

By Christopher Combs | April 1, 2017

Boyfriend is Just an Implied Tenant, and Can be Evicted  Question: Two years ago our daughter’s boyfriend moved into the Gilbert home our daughter has owned since 2011. Her boyfriend gets drunk all of the time, is a womanizer, and abuses both my daughter and her two young children. The police have been called but do nothing. Our daughter’s boyfriend refuses to move out and says that, because he has lived in the home more than two years, he and our daughter have an equal right to live in the home. Is that correct?   Answer: No. Your daughter is the…

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Can Landlord Show Property While You Are Still Occupying It?

By Christopher Combs | February 13, 2017

Can Landlord Show Property While You Are Still Occupying It?   Question: I am a tenant in a luxury home in North Scottsdale. The landlord is trying to sell this home, and the landlord’s listing agent wants to show this home to potential buyers. I have valuable art work, furniture, and other items of personal property in the home. Do I have to let the listing agent have access to my home?   Answer: Yes. A residential landlord is the owner of the home, and is entitled to reasonable access to the home. This reasonable access generally requires at least two days’…

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Commercial Tenant Locked Out When Current on Rent

By Christopher Combs | January 30, 2017

Commercial Tenant “Locked Out” When Current on Rent  Question: My sister has owned a dress shop in a major Phoenix shopping center for twelve years. Last year she was $50,000 delinquent in her rent, primarily because of an increase in the annual common area maintenance (“CAM”) charges due to a large increase in real property taxes for the shopping center. The shopping center gave her five days’ notice to pay this $50,000, but she didn’t have the $50,000 to pay within five days. After the five days passed the landlord filed an eviction lawsuit. Later that week my sister paid…

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