Tenant Has Option to Pay Advance Rent

Question: We own a condominium in Scottsdale. For the past 12 years we have rented this condominium to a Canadian couple for January, February, March and April. They paid the rent for all four months in advance, along with a $1,500 security deposit. The husband died this past year, however, and his widow did not want to rent our condominium. In response to our advertising on the Internet, an attorney in northern California wanted to rent our condominium. We refused to rent to him, however, after he told us that we were not entitled to collect the four months of rent in advance, and that we could only collect in advance an amount equal to 1½ months’ rent as a security deposit, and could not collect an additional $1,500 security deposit.

Answer: Arizona landlord-tenant law originally stated that a residential landlord could collect in advance only one month’s rent, plus a security deposit, including any advance rent, of an amount up to one and one-half months’ rent. This law later was amended, however, primarily because of complaints from landlords with winter vacation rentals who were concerned about tenants moving out early. Under this amendment, a tenant could “voluntarily” pay more than 1½ months’ rent in advance. Therefore, if you rent your condominium this winter you are entitled to ask, and the tenant is entitled to “voluntarily” pay, the four months’ rent in advance plus pay a $1,500 security deposit.

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