Real Estate: Arizona/irrigation pipe breakage
Hello, I rent a house in Arizona . About 6 weeks ago we had an irrigation line break at the foot of our driveway. When the line broke it flooded our house. Two weeks ago the landlord had the irrigation line repaired. The contractor cut corners and I believe he didn't use the proper materials. He knew this and told us to not drive over the area. I then asked him if he meant for a short period of time to avoid the driveway or for longer period of time. He then stated to never drive over the area, ever. I then told him that's unacceptable. It is a driveway and it is included in our lease for use. I then told him he will do a proper repair and do it right. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away. I then contacted the landlord and explained the exchange between myself and the contractor. My landlord agreed with me and said the contractor needs to do the job correctly.
Fast forward to this morning, we woke to find a huge wet spot above the irrigation line. The pipe is only 3 feet below ground. The contractor used cheap 14" plastic ribbed piping. So, if the line underground breaks, which I believe it did, are we, the tenants responsible for that breakage because we diet obey the contractor and should have not used the driveway? I think to have us never use the driveway is a an unacceptable request. What is your thoughts on this? Sincerely, Jared C.
This should be something the landlord needs to follow up on. Hopefully the contractor is licensed. A call and complaint to the registrar of contractors would remedy the situation. They will come out and look at the job and require the contractor to make the correct repairs. Put in writing a letter to the landlord documenting the faulty repair on the driveway and request it be repaired correctly. Send it certified mail. Here is how your rights are spelled out in the landlord tenant act:
The tenant has several options if the landlord fails to maintain the dwelling.
1. Minor defects. The tenant has a right to have repairs made by a licensed contractor,
after proper notice to the landlord. If the landlord fails to comply, the tenant can have the
repairs done and deduct up to $300 dollars or one-half month’s rent, whichever is greater.
The tenant must submit an itemized statement to the landlord and a lien waiver provided
by the contractor. ARS §33-1363.
2. Wrongful failure to supply essential services such as heat, air conditioning, cooling,
water or hot water. If the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to provide essential
services contrary to the rental agreement or the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant
Act, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may do
one of the following.
a) Obtain services and deduct the actual reasonable cost from the rent;
b) Seek damages based on the decrease in the fair rental value of the dwelling;
c) Move to reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance,
during which the tenant is excused from paying rent during the period of
non-compliance. If the cost of the substitute housing is higher than the regular rent, the
tenant may recover the additional cost from the landlord in an amount not to exceed 25
percent of the unpaid regular rent. ARS §33-1364.
A landlord who is aware of a problem and is slow to correct or repair it could be
considered to have acted deliberately or negligently. The tenant cannot invoke the above
remedies if the condition was caused by members of the tenant’s family through damage
or misuse or was caused by any other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.
The landlord has the right to disconnect the utilities in order to make repairs.
Does the tenant have the right to terminate a rental agreement if the landlord failed
to make repairs affecting health and safety?
If the tenant gave a written five-day notice requesting repairs, and the landlord failed to
make them, the tenant may move out after the end of the fifth day. ARS §33-1361.
This is not intended to be legal advice. For additonal information you should seek legal advice. Good luck.