I Think My Landlord Violated The Landlord Tenant Act?

8 Replies

My landlord charged us a security deposit of 1.5x rent + First and Last months rent (clearly this is more than. 1.5x rent) is this viable to sue? Or is this a loophole than landlords use to uneducated tenants? Thanks for the help, I’m truly grateful for this forum and the podcast.

33-1321. Security deposits

A. A landlord shall not demand or receive security, however denominated, including prepaid rent in an amount or value of MORE THAN one and one-half month's rent. This subsection does not prohibit a tenant from voluntarily paying more than one and one-half month's rent in advance.

Not sure it's a loophole, as long as the last months rent is so applied then it's not part of the refundable security deposit. This assumes the landlord can ask for first and last months rent under your landlord tenant act.

@Byal Thomas What is your goal is suing him/her? Are you still living there? Were you wrongfully evicted? What does the landlord tenant act you are referring to say the penalties are for violating it? Lawsuits should usually be looked at as an investment and if the return isn't worth the risk, why take it? There is obviously more to this story. If the landlord is doing something shady then there should be other easier avenues to pursue (health and safety violations) and you could tack this on to make your case. But if you are just looking to make a quick buck or stick it to them for something else they did then I would advise to just leave when your lease is up. Its not worth the hassle

@Byal Thomas based on what @Dan Schwartz posted, it appears prepaid rent cannot be collected if the total combined with deposit is over 1.5X rent. It is possible your landlord either interprets the law differently or is unaware of the requirement. Your statement is pretty aggressive when you say "is it viable to sue". All that seems at dispute here is last months rent, which you will be eventually pay regardless. I understand wanting to hold on to your own money until that future time, so asking for that money back is the logical first step. Just contact the landlord using a friendly tone and explain that your understanding is that the the landlord tenant act prohibits him from collected over 1.5X rent between security deposit and advance rent (last months rent). Ask to have last month rent refunded. Provide the actual text of the statute and explain that "last months rent" is advance rent. Odds are good they refund the money to you. If they don't, you need to consider whether it is worth legal action. Once you sue your landlord, it will create a tense relationship going forward. Odds are good they will choose to not renew your lease at the end of the term. 

Fwiw, i think most people dont understand how expensive “suing” is but i think its a phrase  we as Americans use.  In my own life if I feel i want to “sue” someone, i contact my atty and discuss and they might write a letter in my behalf. That is usually all it takes to resolve a dispute. 


Are we sure anything was done wrong? We all agree Arizona says the security deposits can be 1.5x months. That was probably the only hang up. No one would read that law to say the total required to move in can’t be more that than. EVERY landlord is going to require the first months rent BEFORE the tenant can move in. 

So either very landlord is breaking the law, or every landlord is only holding 1/2 of one months rent, or they have nothing to do with each other. Are you also taking application fees and background checks out of that 1/2 of one months rent?

Literally took 30 seconds with our friend Mr. Google. Maybe call your landlord and apologize for insinuating he was slimy and using a loophole to take advantage of “uneducated” tenants.


In Arizona, landlords can only charge one and a half times the rental amount for a security deposit (ARS § 33-1321(A)). For example, if your rent is $1,000 a month, your security deposit can be no more than $1,500.
   
So why would a tenant voluntary pay more? Arizona landlords are permitted by law to ask for rent in advance, such a first and last month's rent. This isn't actually a security deposit because the money is literally rent money, but it might be due at or before the time the tenant takes possession of the property.

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/...

Originally posted by @Mary M. :

Fwiw, i think most people dont understand how expensive “suing” is but i think its a phrase  we as Americans use.  In my own life if I feel i want to “sue” someone, i contact my atty and discuss and they might write a letter in my behalf. That is usually all it takes to resolve a dispute. 

Not only that, but most people who think it's a viable strategy have been watching too much Law and Order or Perry Mason. Going through any kind of lawsuit sucks (hell, any kind of court proceeding sucks) regardless of which side you're on. Lawyers love it because that's what they're bred to do, and it's like a football game for them. Everyone else on the floor hates it. I've been through several (always on the defense side) and it sucks. Contrary to TV shows, courts like to give a little something to everyone and take a little something from everyone, so at the end even if you won you feel like you've lost.