Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. The following are questions that our client’s have asked and we hope the information provided can help you, should these issues come up.
The first question we had was concerning recording conversations with an employee or a resident at the apartment community. In Arizona, you can tape record a conversation as long as one party to the conversation consents to it. That of course, is obviously the person doing the recording.
A resident was asking the property manager for documents in their file. The property manager inquired as to what they could or could not give to the tenant. Generally speaking, you can give to the tenant anything they have signed, such as leases, rules and regulations, addendums, et cetera, as well as documents that you have delivered to the resident, such as letters or notices. You are not obligated to give the tenant a copy of their credit report, your internal notes, or anything beyond these items.
A property manager received a partial payment of rent prior to court and mailed it back to the tenant. The partial payment was returned as non-deliverable after the eviction Judgment was entered. The property manager wanted to know if they could now keep the money. You should send a letter to the tenant’s last known address letting them know that the partial payment had been rejected prior to court, but had been returned to you and that you will be applying it towards the debt and not be reinstating the rental agreement.
Another manager had a tenant advertising on Craig’s List for sex, and mentioning the name of the apartment community. The manager’s response should be either a five (5) day Health and Safety to not be operating a business out of the rental property, or if you have more substantial proof of prostitution or criminal activity, an immediate eviction notice can be given.
The last question we had was regarding increasing the monthly rental amount if the tenant wanted to add family members to the lease. As long as the new members, as well as the current tenant will sign and agree to this, there should be nothing wrong with it. However, if the tenant does not want to pay a higher amount, then the lease would remain as is and no new occupants could be added.
On the humorous side of things, we had the following. The first involved a tenant that signed a lease on October 31 (Halloween), and immediately complained to the property manager of hearing footsteps throughout the rental property. Upon consulting with the tenant’s “spiritual guide” the tenant was told that the land surrounding the rental property was full of ghosts and spirits and that this was grounds for the tenant to break the lease and vacate. The tenant happened to be 6’5” and 260 pounds, but was terrified to continue living in the property. This was not considered legal grounds to break the lease and the tenant was informed that if they vacated, they would still be responsible for the terms of the lease until the lease expired or they re-rented the property. The landlord also wondered if they had to disclose that the tenant had complained of the property being haunted. Under Arizona law this is not required.
Another tenant was sending the landlord five (5) day Health and Safety notices because the sidewalk had a crack in it. The tenant was trying to use this to vacate early and get out of the lease. When the tenant was informed by our office that this was not grounds to break the lease, the tenant responded with a letter to me, Mr. Hull, Mr. Dull, Mr. Null, Mr. Numbskull, and proceeded to let me know that he was going to teach me a lesson and that would include the lying, incompetent and incorrigible staff at the apartment community. This would result in either the closure of the complex, or the betterment in the living conditions for the benefit of all.
The final humorous incident was the tenant that parked his car in his living room and denied that he had done so. The manager informed the tenant that she was outside the property and could see the car in the living room. Amazingly enough, there was no property damage from driving the car into the unit. The tenant was evicted, even though his argument was that the lease did not prohibit them from parking their car inside the rental property