Phoenix workshop explains laws regarding renter/landlord issues

PHOENIX - It's one of the most uncomfortable experiences in the Valley – losing your air conditioning while we're in the middle of a heat wave.

During the summer we hear from viewers, mostly renters, who feel like their landlords aren't acting fast enough to fix the broken air conditioning.

ABC15 is taking action and getting answers for both renters and landlords.

We talked with Sharron Sauls, a landlord-tenant counselor with the city of Phoenix. She says state law requires landlords provide essential services like adequate cooling and the first step for unhappy renters is to notify landlords of problems in writing.

"You want to either hand deliver or send it by certified mail and request a receipt," Sauls said. "You have to let them know what the problem is and give them an opportunity to resolve it."

In most cases involving essential services, Sauls says the law says landlords must fix things within five days or sooner in case of emergency.

"A 115 degree day in Arizona with no A/C would be an emergency," she said.

According to state law, renters are not allowed to withhold rent, but they can make deductions in certain circumstances if they follow guidelines.

"It does allow you to deduct portions for what you used to substitute services, like a hotel or a window unit," Sauls says. "So, if you went to a hardware store and got a window unit you can deduct that unit up to $300 or half your rent because the landlord failed to provide that essential service."

The City of Phoenix is holding a free workshop for both renters and landlords on Thursday, July 18 from 6 – 9 p.m. at City Hall, 200 W. Washington St. It will address a variety of rights and responsibilities.

For more information call 602-534-4444.

Details at http://phoenix.gov/nsd/neighborhoodcollege/

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