Stories of tenants who alter the rental property are fairly common. Whether it’s performing repairs, painting the walls, installing fixtures, or even demolition activities, a rental agreement will prohibit such actions without the prior written consent of the landlord. And, even with approved consent the work must be of a professional standard of quality and all work becomes the property of the landlord. There are, however, situations where the tenant can repair a property and deduct the cost of such repairs from the rent.
Repair and Deduct
The tenant must notify the landlord in writing, and the landlord is given 10 days (or more promptly if conditions warrant) to correct the breach on their own.
According to Arizona Revised Statute § 33-1363, tenants can repair and deduct for maintenance issues that are the responsibility of the landlord but which landlord fails to maintain. If the cost of compliance is less than $300, or an amount that equals one-half of the monthly rent, the tenant can recover damages or can notify the landlord of their intention to correct the condition (“repair”) at the landlord’s expense (“deduct”). The tenant must notify the landlord in writing, and the landlord is given 10 days (or more promptly if conditions warrant) to correct the breach on their own. If the landlord fails to correct the breach in that timeframe then the tenant can move to correct it and deduct the cost from the next rent payment. Of course, if the condition was caused by negligence or a deliberate act by the tenant then the tenant can not repair at the landlord’s expense.