Arizona landlords have a right to require a security deposit from their tenants, and understandably so. It helps shield them to some extent against liabilities that may arise during the course of a tenancy.
An example of a liability is property damage. Generally, landlords expect their tenant to leave the property the same way they found it, aside from normal wear and tear. Examples of damage exceeding normal wear and tear include:
- Stained carpet and linoleum
- Wall drawings
- Broken or missing bathroom tiles
- Chips and burns in laminate countertop
In such cases, a landlord would have a right to make the appropriate deductions from the renter’s deposit.
With that in mind, landlords must adhere to the security deposit laws in Arizona. The following is a basic overview of the Arizona security deposit laws.
Security Deposit Limit in Arizona
There’s a limit to how much landlords can ask from their renters in Arizona as a security deposit. Specifically, as a landlord, you must charge them no more than 1.5X the monthly rent as a security deposit.
For example, with a monthly rent price of $1,300, the maximum you can charge shouldn’t exceed $1,950.
Non-Refundable Deposits in Arizona
None-refundable security deposits are allowed in the state of Arizona. The only requirement is that a landlord put them in writing. If the landlord fails to do so, then by default, all of their renter’s security deposit will be regarded as refundable at the end of their lease agreement term.
In addition to putting this in writing, a landlord must also state the purpose of the secuirty deposits. Common non-refundable deposits are a pet deposit. Its purpose is to shield you against any potential property damage from your renter’s pet.
Storing a Tenant’s Security Deposit in Arizona
Some states have special requirements in regards to how a landlord must store their tenants’ security deposits.
So, does this apply to the state of Arizona? Not at all. A landlord can store their tenants’ deposits in any way they like, a vast difference from many other states that require the security deposit to be stored in an interest-bearing account.
What’s more, unlike in many states, you may even be able to use the deposit to cover certain situations specified in your lease agreement. However, you must ensure the funds are available to the tenant once they move out.
Arizona Security Deposit Deductions
There are certain circumstances that can enable you to keep part or all of a tenant’s security deposit. The following are the most common:
- To cover lost rental income. You, as the landlord, may incur some losses when your tenant breaks their lease or rental agreement early or abandons their rental. To recover the losses, you may be able to make appropriate deductions on the renter’s deposit
- To cover losses in rent payments. A common breach of the rental contract is the nonpayment of rent. Should you experience this, you may be entitled to part or all of a tenant’s deposit
- To cover excessive cleaning costs. A tenant must leave their rental premises in the exact same condition they found it, minus normal wear and tear. But if the tenant chooses to leave their premises in a dire state of uncleanliness, then you may be able to make the appropriate security deposit deductions
- To cover for unpaid utilities upon moving out. Normally, most – if not all – of the utilities will be in the renter’s name. If the tenant fails to pay them, you may be entitled to a portion or all of their security deposit
- To cover excessive property damage. Examples include chipped or broken tiles, chipped countertops, holes in the walls, and unauthorized paint colors
Tenants in Arizona have a right to a walk-through inspection. But tenants are only entitled to that right if they inform the landlord of their desire to be present beforehand.
You can choose not to allow your tenant to be present during the walk-through inspection for two reasons: if you’re in the process of evicting the tenant or if you fear for your own safety.
The purpose of a walk-through inspection is to assess the property’s condition relative to the move-in state. If there are any excessive damages, the tenant must fix them before finally moving out.
If they don’t fix them, then you’ll have a right to make the appropriate deductions from their security deposit.
Security Deposit Receipt
While some states require that landlords give written notice on receipt of the tenant’s security deposit, this does not apply in the state of Arizona.
That being said, most landlords still notify their tenants anyway. In the notice, they include details like the amount received, and what the tenant must do in order to get it back.
Security Deposit Returns
Once your tenant leaves, you have 14 days to return the security deposit either in part or in full. The 14-day period only begins after the following conditions have happened:
- The tenant has requested that their deposit be returned to them
- The tenant has vacated the premises and returned the keys back to the landlord
- The lease has ended or been terminated
After all these conditions have been met, you may then return the security deposit (or whatever remains of it) to the tenant’s last known mailing address. Your tenant will then have 60 days to dispute any deductions you may have made.
Under Arizona landlord-tenant law, security deposits have many requirements that landlords must follow. However, compared to most states, Arizona is quite flexible with its rules and regulations. As a landlord you should also stay up-to-date on the legal eviction process, squatters rights and leasing laws.
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t meant to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and it might not be up to date at the time of your reading. If you have any questions or need further help, please consider hiring a qualified attorney or contact an experienced property management company like us directly.