Arizona Landlord And Tenant Act Governs Right To Access
The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, together with any agreeements between the parties, governs the legal relationship between a landlord and tenant in the State of Arizona. One common issue of contention relates to the landlord's right to access the property and what notice is required before such access must be granted. Unless the written lease expressly provides otherwise, A.R.S. § 33-1343 governs the landlord's right of access:
A. The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors.
B. If the tenant notifies the landlord of a service request or a request for maintenance as prescribed in section 33-1341, paragraph 8, the notice from the tenant constitutes permission from the tenant for the landlord to enter the dwelling unit pursuant to subsection D of this section for the sole purpose of acting on the service or maintenance request.
C. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant in case of emergency.
D. The landlord shall not abuse the right to access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in case of emergency or if it is impracticable to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant at least two days' notice of the landlord's intent to enter and enter only at reasonable times.
E. The landlord has no other right of access except by court order and as permitted by sections 33-1369 and 33-1370, or if the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
Both The Landlord And Tenant Must Act Reasonably
One prominent feature of the requirements set forth in A.R.S. § 33-1343 is that both the landlord and tenant must act reasonably. Subsection A demands that the tenant not unreasonably withhold consent and subsection D demands that the landlord refarin from abusing the right to access. Unfortunately, there are few reported cases defining what sorts of actions will be deemed reasonable by the courts, but occasional requests by a landlord for the purposes described in A.R.S. § 33-1343(A) are certainly appropriate.
If either party believes the other is acting unreasonable, clear records of communications should be kept in order to demonstrate the number and types of requests in case a dispute arises.
Prior Notice Usually Required For Access
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 33-1343(D), the landlord should usually provide at least two days' notice before accessing the premises, and should only enter the premises at reasonable times. If the tenant has made a service request or if an emergency arises, the landlord may immediately enter the tenant's home, but if possible some notice should still be provided in order to avoid a dispute later on.
Disputes About Right To Access
Unfortunately, sometimes disputes do arise about a landlord's right to access a tenant's dwelling. Tenant's who believe a landlord is abusing such a right may have grounds to terminate a lease and landlord's who believe a tenant is unreasonably withholding access may find the tenant in breach of the lease and may seek to evict the tenant. Because determination of these rights and obligations is subject to a determination of what is or is not reasonable, either party should proceed cautiously before initiating a prolonged legal battle with an uncertain outcome. Further discussion with an experienced Arizona landlord and tenant lawyer can help you fully understand your rights and obligations. For further discussion about other issues related to a tenant's noncompliance with a rental agreement, see our post regarding A.R.S. § 33-1368.