All owners (and occupants) of residential rental property in Arizona should be aware that Arizona law requires residential rental owners to register their property with the County Assessor in the county where the property is located. The apparent purpose of the law, aside from ensuring that the property is taxed at the rental property rate, is to make it easier for tenants or neighbors of substandard residential rental properties to seek remedies against the owners of such properties. The law also provides for penalties for failure to register, as well as penalties that can be imposed upon owners of substandard (or “slum” as defined in the law) residential properties.

Most of the information required for the registration is already public information, either in the County Assessor’s property tax records or the records of the Arizona Corporation Commission. For example, the Assessor’s property tax records already contain the names and addresses of property owners. The names and addresses of statutory agents for corporations and limited liability companies qualified to do business in Arizona are maintained by the Arizona Corporation Commission. However, that information must now be supplied to the Assessor on the Assessor’s form for this purpose. In addition, previously non-public information must be supplied such as: the property owner’s telephone number; if the owner is a corporation or limited liability company, the telephone number of the owner’s statutory agent; if the owner is a partnership, the name of a general partner; and if the owner lives outside of Arizona, the name, address, and telephone number of an agent living in the state who will accept delivery of legal documents on behalf of the owner.

The requirement that out-of-state owners designate an in-state agent apparently applies to both individuals and non-Arizona entities such as corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. Any non-Arizona corporation or limited liability company that has qualified to do business in Arizona already has a statutory agent in Arizona, but will apparently be required to register that agent with the County Assessor.

One other item of information that is required for the registration that an owner may not know is the year the building was built. The most likely source for this information is the County Assessor’s records, which typically include the year built as part of the data used to determine the valuation of the property.

The penalties for noncompliance with the registration law are a civil penalty of $1,000 plus an additional $100 for each month after the date of the original violation until compliance occurs. The penalty is waived, however, if the owner registers the property within ten days after receiving notice of violation. The law also provides that the property shall not be occupied if the required information is not provided to the County Assessor. The registration must be updated within ten days after any change in the required information occurs.

The law states that the required information shall be provided to the County Assessor “in a manner to be determined by the assessor.” The Pima County Assessor and the Maricopa County Assessor have each posted residential rental registration forms on their respective web sites.

The law requiring registration of residential rental properties has been in effect since August, 1999. Residential properties acquired as rentals and residential properties converted from owner occupancy to rental occupancy, must be registered regardless of the date of acquisition or conversion.