Renting a new apartment should be an exciting venture filled with possibility. You may imagine all the dinners you will host or the fun times you will spend with friends watching your favorite movies and TV shows.
The last thing you want to encounter is mold, which can turn your dream dwelling into a disaster zone.
Arizona apartment renters have a right to live in a mold-free environment and enjoy good health, free from symptoms of a poor environment.
After discovering mold in your apartment, you may be wondering about your rights as a tenant and what is owed to you by your landlord in terms of habitability.
|In Arizona, can you…?|
|Move out due to mold?||Yes, conditions apply.|
|Withhold rent due to mold?||Yes, conditions apply.|
|Pay for your own mold remediation and deduct cost from rent?||Yes; up to $300, or ½ of 1 months’ rent. Licensed contractor must perform work.|
|Sue a landlord and others over mold?||Yes.|
|Contact local media outlets about the mold?||Yes.|
|Terminate a lease early.||Yes, in some cases.|
Can you withhold rent for mold in Arizona?
If the tenant has done everything possible to prevent mold from forming by using the appropriate bathroom and kitchen ventilation systems, they cannot be held responsible for mold formation in the unit.
Courts may rule in the tenant’s favor and grant a release from the terms of the rental agreement without penalty if the landlord failed to address their mold complaints and the tenant is being forced out of their home due to mold-related illness.
Can you sue for mold in Arizona?
Yes, renters do have the right to sue their landlords for mold issues in Arizona if they can prove that the duty to protect resident health and safety outlined in the rental agreement was violated.
Many landlords have created a mold clause in their leases to obtain exemptions from liability.
Even so, if the tenant can prove the landlord was negligent or that they failed to uphold their legally bound duties, there may be a chance to recoup the security deposit or obtain damages, such as lost wages, property costs, and pain and suffering.
In order to sue, tenants need to ensure that they have a mound of evidence to back them up and that they tried all the proper channels and procedures to have the issue addressed before pursuing legal action.
The lawsuit may move forward if:
- You notified the landlord of a water leak or visible mold in the unit and they neglected to fix it
- Your health suffered as a result of mold exposure and you have medical bills to pay
- You lost wages at work or will lose wages in the future due to mold-related illness
- You have incurred costs trying to fix the problem yourself
- Your renter’s insurance does not cover property damage related to mold
- You have experienced pain and suffering related to mold exposure
Free Legal Help for Arizona Tenants
The following organizations offer free legal assistance to Arizona tenants who may be facing mold growth in their rental apartment and/or other similar hazards.
- The Arizona Legal Center: This center is a great resource, but does not represent clients at trial.
- Arizona Law Help: Offers free or reduced-fee legal help to people who qualify. You can check your qualifications on their website or by calling (866) 637-5341.
What are considered ‘unlivable conditions’ in Arizona?
According to state law, the landlord shall:
- Comply with building codes affecting the health and safety of tenants.
- Make all repairs in a timely manner and do what is needed to keep the premises in fit, livable condition.
- Keep common areas clean and safe.
- Make sure all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators are safe and in good working order.
- Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste.
- Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times. Also supply reasonable heat and reasonable air-conditioning or cooling in cases where such services are required.
How long does a landlord have to fix a mold problem in Arizona?
Mold is not something that should be left around to get worse. It should always be addressed right away, as quickly as possible.
According to Arizona law, landlords must make the necessary repairs within 10 days of written notice from the tenant.
“If, after a reasonable period of time, the landlord does nothing to fix the problem, and the tenant wishes to terminate the rental agreement and vacate the dwelling, then the tenant may deliver to the landlord written notice identifying the problem and stating that if the problem is not fixed within 10 days after the landlord receives this notice then the rental agreement will terminate.”Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities, Arizona Law Help
If the landlord fails to make the repairs within that time frame, the renter has the right to try to fix the problem themselves. They can notify the landlord that they will be handling the problem themselves and deduct the expenditures from future rent payments. Tenants can also choose to move out without being bound by penalties if the landlord fails to meet their duties.
Lastly, tenants can choose to sue their landlords for damages related to mold exposure, including lost wages, property costs, and pain and suffering.
What is the takeaway?
If you are an Arizona renter dealing with mold issues and an unresponsive landlord, rest assured, there are steps you can take to get the situation under control.
You can consult with an experienced lawyer “Toxic Tort Lawyer” who can sue for damages related to negligence, failure to disclose, breach of warranty, or bad faith, depending on the specifics of your case.
Your lawyer can also hold other persons or entities responsible, including repairmen, insurance providers, or property management companies. It is always worthwhile to do your research and find the path that will be most conducive to your physical, emotional, and financial health.