A good rental agreement should spell out the terms and conditions related to paying rent. Included should be:
- the date rent is due
- the date late fees are assessed
- how much those late fees are
- fees for bounced checks
- what happens if rent is not payed.
Knowing your state’s laws can help you determine if the fees in your agreement are within the legal limits and what your rights are as a tenant when it comes to paying rent. The following link provides information regarding tenant laws for paying rent in Arizona. http://www.azag.gov/civil_rights/TenantRightsResponsibilities.pdf.
Under the Arizona law, landlords may charge a $25 service fee for a bounced check plus any fees he or she may have incurred from their bank as a result. This could get very expensive for a tenant so be careful to avoid any issues with your check. Some landlords may be willing to work with you on an occasion where you need an extra day or two. Notifying them upfront is your best option to avoid an avalanche of fees. After 5 days of nonpayment of rent, Landlords can legally file for eviction in Arizona.
Landlords must give tenants a 30 day notice before increasing rent. However if a long term lease exists, the rent cannot be increased unless it was written into the original rental agreement. Landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner – for tenants of a certain race for example. They may not raise rent in retaliation against you either. For example if the housing was uninhabitable due to needed repairs and you withheld either a portion or all of the rent, the landlord, by law, cannot raise the rent in retaliation.
Proving Retaliation in Tenancy Termination
Fortunately, in many states these laws actually favor tenants when it comes to landlords ending a tenancy. It is presumed the landlord is acting in retaliation against you if it occurs within a certain amount of time after you have exercised your right, which is usually 6 months but sometimes 90 days and even 1 year. Basically the burden is placed on the landlord to prove to a judge that he did not act in retaliation by ending the tenancy.