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Is there any cap on the amount that an apartment complex can raise rent? I have a 72 year old friend who has lived in this complex for 10 1/2 years and her rent was raised 18.8 % on her recent rate renewal. I thought this was not legal . Can you please let me know what the law is if anything to protect the tenant?

Response by Carlton C. Casler: There is no "cap" or maximum amount that a landlord may raise the rent in Arizona. When renewing a fixed term lease (or with 30 days notice in a month-to-month tenancy), the landlord may raise the rent by 5%, 10%, 50%, or 100%. The tenant has the option to either pay the increased amount or to move.

If a tenant pays the last months rent and leaves before the end of that month, does the landlord have the right to let new tenants move in?

Response by Carlton C. Casler. Yes, if the former tenant has turned in the keys and give possession of the rental unit to the landlord.

If the AC unit breaks down is there a required time frame that it needs to be repaired? It was 108 degrees and the landlord had someone there within 24 hrs.

Response by Carlton C. Casler. The Act does not give a specific time (i.e., a certain number of days) within which the landlord must fix the air-conditioner. Section 33-1361 allows a tenant to give the landlord a five day notice for issues affecting health and safety. Loss or air-conditioning in the summer certainly affects health and safety, but five days may be too long. Section 33-1364 allows a tenant to give "reasonable" notice to the landlord regarding air-conditioning and then, if not repaired by the landlord, the tenant may (1) procure substitute services and deduct it from the rent or (2) recover damages based on the diminished value of the rental unit, or (3) procure substitute housing and the tenant is excused from paying rent for the time the tenant was in substitute housing. The issue, of course, is what is "reasonable" notice to the landlord when the air-conditioner fails when the outside temperature is 100 degrees, or 110 degress, or 120 degrees? Each case will be different and different judges will rule differently. My recommendation is to call the landlord and discuss the problem. You can normally tell when a landlord is doing everything humanly possible to get the problem fixed quickly. You can also tell when a landlord is not acting quickly. If the former, give the landlord at least 24 hours to take action. If the latter, give the landlord a written notice and select the option in ARS 33-1364 that best suits your situation.

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