When the Arizona Legislature completes its session, there’s naturally a lot of interest in what new laws have been adopted. Sometimes there’s less to those changes than meets the eye. The news reports on the just-concluded legislative session gave considerable attention to a change in the laws governing residential landlords and tenants, but on closer inspection, I think the change is actually pretty narrow.
First, a little background. Under the existing provisions of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, a landlord doesn’t have to accept a partial rent payment, but if a landlord does accept a partial rent payment, the landlord cannot then evict the tenant for not paying the rent in full, unless there’s a written agreement between the landlord and the tenant about how the partial payment is to be applied.
In its just-concluded session, the Arizona Legislature modified that rule a bit. Under the modified rule, the landlord can accept a partial payment from a government agency, a public housing authority, or a third party on behalf of one of those agencies or authorities, without being subject to the existing rule that says the tenant can’t be evicted without a written agreement about how to apply the payment. All this really means, in practical terms, is that if the tenant’s rent payments are being subsidized through a government rental assistance program, the landlord can accept the subsidy payments and still evict the tenant if the rent is not paid in full.
While this change was being considered by the Legislature, it apparently attracted the attention of private, non-profit social service agencies that provide rental assistance. Those agencies didn’t want the modified rule to apply when they make partial rent payments for tenants they are assisting. The legislature, understandably, agreed to carve out that type of payment from the modified rule.
It’s not a huge change, if you ask me, but it is worth knowing about if you’re involved in residential rentals. If you want to see all the details, I suggest that you take a look at the legislative summary for House Bill 2358, which you’ll find by searching for HB2358 at azleg.gov.
Nathan B. Hannah is a Shareholder in the Tucson office, and practices in the areas of estate planning and administration, real estate, and commercial transactions. He is also a noted blogger, and you can find more of his articles on his private blog,
Contact Attorney Hannah: firstname.lastname@example.org or 520/ 322-5000
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