Arizona Tenant Screening
Last Updated: January 16, 2015
How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Arizona
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Arizona has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Arizona landlord-tenant Codes on the Arizona State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Recent Law Changes
Arizona law outlines bed-bug protocol: The Arizona bed-bug law applies only to apartments (single-family homes are exempt), and the law states that tenants have three business days to notify the landlord in writing that bed bugs are suspected. The landlord must have a licensed pest-control professional inspect the unit within seven days after receiving the written notice.
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]: Arizona landlords must provide tenants with a move-in checklist. Tenants also have the right to be present at a move-out inspection. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-1321)
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
- Nonrefundable Fees: In Arizona, the purpose of all nonrefundable fees or deposits, which are legal there, unlike many states, must be stated in writing. Any fee or deposit not designated as nonrefundable is refundable. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-1321)
- Separate Utility Charges: If Arizona landlords charge separately for gas, water, wastewater, solid waste removal or electricity by installing a submetering system, landlords may recover the charges imposed on the landlord by the utility provider, plus an administrative fee for the landlord for actual administrative costs only, and must disclose separate billing and fee in the rental agreement. If the landlord uses a ratio utility billing system, the rental agreement must contain a specific description of the ratio utility billing method used to allocate utility costs. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-13.1401)
- Owner Or Agent Identity: Arizona landlords must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving notices and demands. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-1322)
- Business Tax Pass-Through: If an Arizona landlord pays a local tax based on rent and that tax increases, the landlord may pass through the increase by increasing the rent upon 30 days notice (but not before the new tax is effective), but only if the landlords right to adjust the rent is disclosed in the rental agreement. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-1314)
- Availability Of The Landlord And Tenant Act: Arizona landlords must inform tenants in writing that the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is available on the Arizona Secretary of State website. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33 1322)
- Bedbug Information: Arizona landlords must provide existing and new tenants with educational materials on bedbugs, including information and physical descriptions, prevention and control measures, behavioral attraction risk factors, information from federal, state, and local centers for disease control and prevention, health or housing agencies, nonprofit housing organizations, or information developed by the landlord. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-1319)
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for Arizona:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Arizona: AZ Admin Office Of Courts, AZ Department Of Corrections, Maricopa County Gilbert Municipal Court, Maricopa Justice, Maricopa Superior Court, Maricopa Superior Court Filings, Pima Consolidated Justice Court, Pima Justice Traffic View, Pima Superior Court, AZ Sex Offender Registry.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yazapai, Yuma.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, Yuma.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for Arizona Landlords
- Arizona State Bar Association Lawyer Search
- Arizona Courts Locator
- Law Enforcement Agencies in Arizona (Wikipedia)