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As an adult, you now have the right to sign a rental agreement or lease. The landlord is called the lessor while you, the renter, is called the lessee.


Q: Must a lease be written to be enforceable?

A: A rental agreement can be either written or verbal (A.R.S. §33-1310(12)). A lease for more than one year must be in writing (A.R.S. §44-101(6)).


Q: What are the advantages of having a written lease?

A: You will have a better idea of all of your rights and obligations. You will have protection against dishonesty. You will have protection against something either party does not accurately remember.


Q: Are there any disadvantages to having it all in writing?

A: Pre-printed leases usually are prepared by and favor the landlord. You should read the lease carefully. The lease could change some of the rules that would otherwise favor the tenant. Remember, you don’t have to use the printed forms as printed. If all parties agree, you can modify the form to suit your situation.


Q: What is a security deposit and why do I have to pay it?

A: A security deposit is an amount of money that the landlord holds as security against property damages, unclean conditions you have caused, and unpaid rent. The purpose of the deposit must be stated in writing by the landlord (A.R.S. §33-1321).


Q: Should I have renter’s insurance?

AWhile it may not be required by your landlord, it it is something you may consider getting. The landlord’s insurance will cover only the buildings and property, not your possessions. Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive.


Q: I’ve got the keys, now what?

AUnder the law A.R.S. §33-1341, a tenant must comply with all health and safety obligations imposed upon a tenant by the following building codes:


Q: Does the landlord have any obligations?

AYes, the landlord must also comply with the requirements of applicable building codes affecting health and safety. According to A.R.S. §33-1324, the landlord must:


Q: What about privacy? Can my landlord enter my apartment?

AThe landlord does have the right to enter your apartment under certain conditions. The landlord may enter the apartment for the following reasons:

The landlord may also enter the apartment without consent of the tenant in case of emergency, but the landlord cannot abuse this 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 must give the tenant at least two days notice of intent to enter, and may enter only at reasonable times (A.R.S. §33-1343).


Q: What happens if I don’t pay my rent?

A: If you do not pay the rent when due, a landlord may give you a notice to either pay or leave within five days. If after five days the rent remains unpaid, the landlord may file a forcible entry and detainer action against you, to evict you (A.R.S. §33-1368).


Q: In a monthly lease, can I end the lease by just leaving at the end of a month?

A: You must give reasonable notice before the end of a rental period. If you have a month-to-month lease, you must give written notice to the landlord at least 30 days prior to the date your rental agreement expires (A.R.S. §33-1375).


Q: If I break a lease, what amount can I be sued for?

AYou can possibly be sued for the following:


Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.