Guide to leasing, tenanting and being a landlord in Arizona

Owning your own home is one of the most satisfying things in life. You worked hard, saved money, and finally bought a home that you could raise a family in. People often buy second houses, or end up with extra space in their homes, which they rent out in order to make some extra money. The process of letting someone stay in a residential property that you own, in exchange of money is known as leasing that property.

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When you rent, or lease a house or apartment to an individual or a family, you get classified as a landlord according to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. There are certain notable exceptions to this general rule, which state that you do not qualify to be called a landlord if the property you own is leased out for the purpose of running a dormitory, hostel, fraternity or sorority house, or public housing. Once this distinction has been made, and you qualify to be called a landlord, there are some responsibilities that you must take care of in order to ensure that the relation between you and your tenant stays within the limits of the legal boundaries.

1. Deciding the security deposit: All landlords are entitled to ask their tenants to deposit a certain amount of money at the beginning of the leasing period in a form of security in case the tenant accidentally, or willfully, damages the place that he will be living in. As per the law you can only ask the tenant to deposit a maximum of 1 and half month rental of your place as security deposit. This deposit is in addition to the first month rent, and all rent payments are made in advance at the start of the month, or any other date that the tenant and landlord agree upon.

2. Refusing to rent to someone: Landlords in Arizona reserve the right to refuse to rent their house to someone. There are several exceptions to this rule which mostly involve conditions where the landlord may have refused out of prejudice or bias. Race, color, ethnicity, language and other similar factors are not justifiable cause for refusing to rent to someone. Also, unless your property lies in an area unfit for children, or you have some formal deed which prohibits the presence of children, you cannot refuse to rent to someone just because they have a family.

3. Landlords must always adhere to the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Relation Act, and follow the guidelines set for them in case of all payments, agreement termination, and legal disputes.

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4. Landlords have the authority to enact rules for tenants. These rules need to be enacted before the tenant moves in, or 30 days notice must be provided to the tenant. You cannot enact a rule specifically to help you evade the responsibilities that you have as a landlord.

5. You are required to provide a safe, and clean home to your tenants. It must be inhabitable and comply with building codes as well as health codes

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