Arizona landlords are legally required to provide a safe and habitable home to their tenants. If there’s a repair that hasn’t been made that directly affects the property’s habitability, the tenant can complain to the local authorities and serve you with a Five Day Health & Safety Notice.
This is disruptive to landlords, especially when the complaint is unfounded. Today, we’re sharing some tips on how to handle the situation if such a notice is received.
Clarify Owner and Tenant Responsibilities
Your lease should be clear on what the owner is responsible for at the Phoenix rental property and what the tenant is responsible for. Many times, the issue that a tenant is complaining about is something they’re responsible for anyway. So make sure everyone is clear on their expectations and responsibilities. For example, if pest control is your tenant’s responsibility, they cannot make a complaint about ants in their home. However, if pest control is the owner’s responsibility, you can be held accountable for the bed bugs that the tenant’s visitors brought into the home.
When your tenants understand their own responsibilities and are proactive about addressing them, you won’t have to worry about health and safety notices that don’t apply to you.
Check for Health and Safety Problems
The first thing you’ll need to determine is if there’s a valid health and safety concern at your property. Inspect the property right away. You have the authority to do this, because the notice that has been served on you acts as an access notice. So, you can get inside the home, even if the tenant’s say it is perhaps not convenient to them.
If you determine that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, take care of it immediately. You need to at least begin resolving the issue within the five days. You may need to schedule work or order a part, and that might take a bit longer. As long as you are working towards a resolution, you are covered.
Hold Tenants Accountable When Necessary
If you inspect the property and find there isn’t a health and safety issue at all, you can charge the tenant for your time and the resources required during the inspection. You can also charge the tenant for any work that needs to be done that was caused by them. If the front door is torn off the hinges, it is absolutely a health and safety issue and you’ll need to replace the door. But, if that door was torn off during an argument between your tenant and his former best friend, your tenant should pay for the repair.
At Service Star Realty, we take health and safety issues very seriously. All landlords and property managers should. If you’d like a list of the health and safety issues that are recognized by Arizona law, we can provide them for you. We can also help you if you receive a Five Day Notice from a claim that a tenant has filed against you. Contact us at Service Star Realty, and we’d be happy to walk you through the process.