My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: ARIZONA
Our lease agreement calls for the last month’s rent in advance and also states that:
At the expiration of the fixed lease term, the lease “shall become a month-to-month tenancy upon the approval of landlord. Where said term is a month-to-month tenancy, either party may terminate this tenancy by the serving of a 30 day written notice.”
We began to worry last month (which happened to be the last month of the original fixed lease term) when their rent, as we saw it, became nearly 2 weeks past due. So my husband drove by the property, hoping he might see them and be able to talk over the situation in a friendly manner. They were not there but he thought it looked like things were being packed up for a move so we phoned them right away. But they firmly denied that they were planning to move and said that they were only moving certain things in or out of storage and getting rid of some things. We reminded them that if they wanted to end the lease they needed to give us a written notice of termination.
But later that week we discovered they HAD moved out and the utilities were turned off and the house was left wide open and in a dreadful state. When we tried calling their cell phone they were hostile and would even hang up on us. The neighbors told us they would see them there picking up the mail so we ended up posting a notice on the door, formally stating that we wanted to do an inspection and that we expected them to pay the rent. They reacted angrily saying we wouldn’t get a cent out of them and we had no right to enter until they returned the keys at the end of the month.
We were afraid after that and didn’t go in there until after the end of the month, but the keys were never returned and no written notice of termination ever came.
We’re currently in the process of repairing all the damage and trying to get it back into a rentable state. It’s obvious from the damage that they breeched many terms of the lease agreement and they did not maintain it properly and didn’t inform us of problems we needed to fix, allowing them to develop into major and costly issues.
The fact that they didn’t give notice or ask for their security deposit strengthens our believe that they planned well and fully intended to just move away without our knowing and leave us holding the bag with a vacant rental home that will take much time and cost far more than the deposit to make rentable again.
We didn’t give them any termination notice and presume that is enough to imply our approval of the rental agreement changing to the month to month basis. Is that wrong? Did they have a right to leave when they did without giving us written notice? Does the last month’s rent apply to the last month they were actually there or to the last month they would state in a 30 day termination notice?
I’d really appreciate some advice on where we stand in this situation and what we can actually do to put things right.
Thanks very much, - Nana