For a tenant who has not paid the rent or seriously breached the lease agreement, it may be very difficult to mount an effective defense to an eviction action. Nonetheless, a tenant will have a valid defense to an eviction action if the landlord has not complied with the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Among other things, the Arizona statutes require that the landlord properly maintain the premises by complying with applicable health and safety codes, make repairs when needed to maintain the property in a fit and habitable condition, and keep the electrical, plumbing, sanitation and other necessary systems in good working order.The parties may agree to transfer some responsibilities to the tenant, but unless otherwise states these obligations, together with provision of water and electricity, are the responsibility of the landlord.
So what happens in the landlord is not meeting his obligations?
For some problems, the tenant is allowed to use "self help" by making the repairs and deducting the cost from the rent. If the problem is serious enough, the tenant may provide reasonable notice and then terminate the lease and move out if the repair is not completed.Because the rights and obligations of a tenant depend on the specific facts applicable to each case, tenants facing an eviction action or needing to defend an eviction action should consult with an experienced landlord tenant lawyer.