Rules For Collecting And Returning Security Deposits In Arizona

Most leases for residential properties in Arizona require the renter to pay a security deposit as compensation for potential damage to the unit and as security in the event that the tenant abandons the premises without paying rent. Every state has its own laws concerning the amount that can be requested as a security deposit and the procedures for returning the deposit to the lessee once the lease has expired.

Security deposit value. According to Arizona statutory law (A.R.S. § 33-1321), a landlord is not permitted to require a security deposit exceeding one and a half times the value of the monthly rent. The security deposit is a refundable fee. All other fees that are non-refundable must be designated as such and the landlord must provide a written statement describing the nature and purpose of non-refundable fees.

Requirements upon move-in. When a tenant moves into the unit, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a move-in form so that the tenant can note any existing defects in the unit. The landlord must also provide a notice to inform the tenant that he is permitted be present during the inspection upon expiration of the lease. The move-in form inspection is the tenant’s opportunity to inform the landlord of damages that are already present in the unit prior to the tenant’s occupancy to avoid conflicts at the termination of the lease.

Requirements upon move-out.  Arizona law states that the landlord is required to return the security deposit within 14 days after the tenant has vacated the premises. The security deposit should be accompanied by an itemized list of deductions for any unpaid rent or damages to the property. If the tenant fails to adhere to the provisions of A.R.S. § 33-1341, which requires the tenant, among other things, to comply with relevant health and safety codes, maintain a clean and safe environment, use plumbing and electrical units in a reasonable manner and avoid destruction or damage to the property by the tenant or any guest of the tenant, then the landlord is authorized to deduct amounts to cover the applicable damages.  If the landlord fails to return any unused portion of the security deposit within fourteen days upon termination of the tenancy, the tenant may recover that amount plus damages equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld.

Chernoff Law handles business and real estate litigation matters throughout Arizona. Contact us by calling 480-719-7307 to discuss your legal matter.