Claims Against Your Landlord

The following does not apply to mobile home park evictions, recreational vehicle park evictions, and certain subsidized housing. Below is information that may be helpful to landlords and tenants but is not a substitute for legal advice. There are other rules and laws that may be applicable to your situation, but these are common rules and laws that apply in eviction actions. 

A.R.S. means Arizona Revised Statutes and RPEA means Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions.

These claims may be brought against the landlord in a separate action or as counterclaims in the eviction action. A.R.S. § 33-1368(B)
  • Counterclaims in an eviction action must be filed in writing and served upon the opposing party. RPEA 8(a). The tenant can hand it to the landlord or attorney before the case is called by the judge.
  • Counterclaims must state specific facts claiming that the landlord violated the rental agreement or statute.
  • Counterclaims must state when and how any required notices were sent to the landlord and what the notices were about.
  • If, in the past 6 months, the tenant complained to the landlord or a government agency charged with code enforcement about habitability issues materially affecting health and safety, and then the landlord did any of the following, the tenant may be entitled to damages. A.R.S. § 33-1381.
  1. Landlord increased rent
  2. Landlord decreased services
  3. Landlord filed an action for possession (eviction action)
  4. Landlord threatened to bring an action for possession
  • If the landlord unlawfully locks the tenant out of the rental unit or intentionally stops providing electric, gas, water, or other essential services, the tenant can do the following: A.R.S. § 33-1367
  1. Recover possession of the rental unit
  2. Terminate the rental agreement (landlord must return the security deposit as required by the law)
  3. Sue or counterclaim for an amount not more than 2 month’s rent or twice the actual financial harm suffered, whichever is greater.
  1. Enters the rental unit unlawfully (usually this means not providing proper notice of his or her intent to enter the rental unit);
  2. Enters lawfully in an unreasonable manner; or
  3. Makes repeated demands for entry that unreasonably harass the tenant.

The tenant can do one of the following:

  1. Obtain injunctive relief (get the court to order the landlord to stop); or
  2. Terminate the rental agreement
  • In addition to the above, the tenant can also sue for actual damages not less than an amount equal to one month’s rent.
  • If the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to provide running water, gas or electrical service, reasonable amount of hot water, heat, air conditioning or cooling (where units are installed), or essential services, the tenant can ask the court for a return of part of the rent the tenant paid. In other words, because the landlord failed to supply one or more of the above, the rental unit was not worth what the tenant was paying for. A.R.S. § 33-1364(A)(2).
  • This statute requires that the tenant first give the landlord reasonable notice about the problem.
  • This statute allows for damages against the landlord, but requires previous written notice (either a 10-day notice for material noncompliance with the rental agreement or a 5-day notice for noncompliance materially affecting health and safety) to the landlord and an opportunity for the landlord to fix the problems stated in the notice. A.R.S. § 33-1361.

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