Landlord Can “Lockout” Delinquent Commercial Tenant Even If Rent Brought Current

By Christopher Combs | June 16, 2024

Question: We have a small hair salon in a West Valley shopping mall. We recently fell behind on our rent, and the landlord gave us notice that our rent was delinquent, and that the landlord had the right to terminate our lease and “lock us out.” Our landlord then accepted our late payment of the past due rent, and thus we were current on our rent, including late fees, interest, and attorney fees. Last Saturday night, however, we were “locked out” by our landlord so that when we came to work on Monday morning our hair salon was padlocked, and…


Tenants Have Violated The “No Pets” Clause Of The Lease

By Christopher Combs | March 3, 2024

Question: We leased our home in Cave Creek to a nice elderly couple. The lease has a “no pets” provision. A former neighbor, who has two small children, recently called to complain about two pit bulls recently purchased by our tenants. Can we terminate the lease with our tenants because of the two pit bulls? Answer: If the pit bulls are a health and safety hazard, you can deliver five days’ notice; terminate the lease; and evict the tenants. If the pit bulls are only a violation of the “no pets” provision in the lease, you can deliver a 10-day…


Tenant Can Break The Lease After Gang Shooting

By Christopher Combs | February 18, 2024

Question: My wife and I live with our two-year-old son in a Phoenix apartment complex. Last week in our apartment complex there was a gang fight with several shots fired. We were terrified, especially about the possibility of additional gang shootings. We notified the property manager and moved out immediately, and we have been staying with my wife’s sister until we can find another apartment. We just received an email from our former landlord’s attorney stating that we had no right to move out of the apartment, and that we will owe rent until the landlord can find another tenant.…


Remedies When Tenants Refuse Access to Show Home to Prospective Buyers

By Christopher Combs | June 18, 2023

Question: We own a rental home in Tempe which we have rented to three ASU students. Our listing broker is trying to sell the home for us. The problem is that our tenants refuse to allow our listing broker to show the home. Our listing broker emails the required 48-hour notice to all three tenants, with a specific time for showing the home to prospective buyers. The tenants, however, will only allow showings between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on weekends. Our listing broker says that this limited time period of only four hours on weekends to show the home…


Recourse for Unknown Tenants

By Christopher Combs | May 14, 2023

Question: We recently purchased an investment home in the San Tan Valley for $425,000 cash. When our real estate agent showed us the home, this home had some furniture in the living room and in two of the bedrooms. Our real estate agent said that he thought that was furniture left behind by the last owner. Two days later we signed the purchase contract to buy the home. After escrow closed, and we had the keys, we went to the home with two contractors to start the repairs to the home. To our surprise, there was a family of four…


Lease Renewal Allowed Even With Late Notice of Renewal

By Christopher Combs | April 2, 2023

Question: Nearly five years ago we signed a lease for a 2,500 square foot office suite in a north Scottsdale office building. The five-year lease included an option to renew the lease for another five years, with six months’ notice prior to the expiration of the five-year lease. If the five-year lease is renewed, the only modification of the five-year lease would be a consumer price index (“CPI”) increase in the monthly rent. We want to stay in our office suite for another five years, especially with only a CPI increase in the monthly rent. Therefore, eight months before our lease…


Dangerous Mold? Give Landlord 5 Days to Act

By Christopher Combs | May 22, 2022

Question: Last September we signed a one-year lease for a home in Goodyear. The landlord lives in California and has a local property manager. There was a big storm two months ago and our roof leaked, mainly in the third bedroom that was apparently part of a major remodeling project by the California owner three years ago. There is now mold throughout the home. Three weeks ago, the property manager did an inspection, and she said that she would have contractors out to inspect the roof, and that she would then get bids to repair the roof and the mold…


What if You’re Unlawfully Locked Out of the Office?

By Christopher Combs | April 24, 2022

Question: We lease office space in a Peoria office building for our insurance business. Under our lease we have five business days to pay our monthly lease payment. After five calendar days (including a weekend), but only three business days, the property manager “locked us out” of our office space because she has always wanted to get a higher-paying tenant in our office space. At an angry meeting later that morning, the property manager apologized to us for her mistake, and let us back into our office space. The landlord even sent over a dozen red roses to our office. Although…