Under A.R.S. § 33-1343, a landlord may enter your rental house or apartment for a host of purposes, including to:
Inspect the premises
Make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements
Supply necessary or agreed services
Exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors
Typically, entry must be with two days’ advance notice so long as the time of day is reasonable. Exceptions are when it is impracticable to do so, for emergencies, or after you lodge a maintenance or service request. If you withhold consent, you may well be evicted.
Do not confuse two days with 48 hours; a landlord could, for example, give you notice to enter on Monday night, and then come into your dwelling Wednesday morning. This would be less than 48 hours, but still meet the two-day requirement.
You may well ask what is a reasonable time for entry. The Arizona Residential Landlord & Tenant Act does not define this. My thinking is that entry before 8 a.m. and after 7 p.m. is unreasonable. I also think it is unreasonable to enter on special holidays, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas Days. Ultimately the bottom line rests with what a judge would rule. Given the bias of the courts, it is risky to block a landlord’s access unless you have an unassailable position. Don’t press your luck.
But there is a time for standing firm and saying No. And that time is when you have first made a written record of warning the landlord to stay out unless proper advance notice is given. Usually such a warning, sent by certified mail or hand-delivered by process server, clearly gets the message across and modifies an abusive landlord’s conduct. The reason for this is because, following such notice, there can be no question that a landlord’s entry without proper notice violates the tenant’s right to privacy and security. Once you have so notified your landlord, in the event your landlord appears without warning not only are you well positioned to stand your ground and deny entry without notice, but also you would have built a strong case to seek remedy for abuse of access under A.R.S. § 33-1376 .
There are several remedies for abuse of access. You can ask to court to halt the landlord’s abusive entries, by way of injunctive relief. You can recover through court action monetary damages that you have suffered, with a minimum value of at least one month’s rent. And you can terminate the rental agreement, which can be self-enforced without court action.
ATA can help you do it right.
First, we have an article in the Tenants Library explaining details about landlord access, entitled Hey Landlord: My Home is My Castle, at this link http://arizonatenants.com/castle.htm. Read it. For ATA members, we have a free form that you can serve upon a landlord who enters without proper notice. Or, you can individually purchase the form for a very small charge. Read about our notices at this link http://arizonatenants.com/simple-notice.htm. Finally, we can help you create custom letters addressing the issue, whereby we would actually sit down with you to address and implement the best strategy. Information on this service can be found at this link http://arizonatenants.com/letter.htm.
For well over a decade, Arizona Tenants Advocates has been advising tenants about landlord abuse of access. Join ATA and become a part of the solution – for yourself and for other tenants.
- Ken Volk -
May 2, 2015