Landlord/Tenant Act

Today we will discuss A.R.S. 33-1303 which states:

“Supplementary principles of law applicable Unless displaced by the provisions of this chapter, the principles of law and equity, including the law relating to capacity to contract, mutuality of obligations, principal and agent, real property, public health, safety and fire prevention, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy or other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.”

Examples of some of the principles of law stated in A.R.S 33-1303:
A capacity to contract claim – you can sue and claim that he/she did not have the capacity to contract because he/she is a minor, or is mentally handicapped.
An issue under principal and agent – you can sue because the property manager never revealed that he/she was acting for the purpose of a third party but instead claimed that he/she was the owner of the property.
Misrepresentation – while you were walking through the property, before you signed the lease, you specifically asked about bed bugs, rodents, and criminal activity in your building. The landlord or a representative of the property specifically stated that no one has complained of bed bugs, there were never a reason to spray the property for any rodents or bed bugs and the building is 100 percent safe with no recent acts of violence. You move in, bed bugs destroy your furnishing, mice running around the apartment and the cops are called because of the known drug dealer next door.

Basically, this provision allows you or the landlord to include other reasons to sue besides violations of some sections of the ARLTA unless your reason for suing is trumped by a provision in the ARLTA.

Let me provide an example of what I mean by ’trumped by a provision in the ARLTA’.  You enter into a residential lease agreement with your landlord or his property manager. In that rental agreement is a provision that requires you, the tenant, to pay any cost for damages incurred by the landlord because you had to call the fire department due to an emergency. You call the fire department because there is a fire in your home. The landlord decides to sue you for damages under the contract ( a supplementary principle of law under A.R.S. 33-1303). This would be an open and shut case in favor of the landlord for damages except the ARLTA 33-1315(5) expressly prohibits this provision of the rental agreement and therefore the supplemental principle is displaced.

This applies to tenants as well.  If you believe you have a case against the landlord for neglecting his duties to repair and maintain the home, for subjecting you to dangerous situations inside of your home or for lying (misrepresentation), you may sue the landlord under a provision of the ARLTA, like ARS 33-1324, and include misrepresentation, negligence or breach of your rental contract. This is allowed because of A.R.S 33-1303. It is included for the sole purpose of explaining that you are not limited to the provisions under ARLTA if you need to sue.

But be careful! You can’t file a counterclaim in an eviction action unless a provision of the statute allows for it. We will discuss those in a later post.  To protect yourself, send out any notices or request for repairs in writing, certified letter to the landlord or the property management company. Keep a copy and the tracking receipt for it. Never just send an email, a make a phone call or submit a request through the online portal. You need to immediately follow up on those request with a certified letter.

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