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Landlord has attempted to combine tenants from two separate and distinct leases to collect alleged damages

Phoenix, AZ |

I hope this gives enough detail, tried to be concise:
1 year lease with a total of five tenants. Lease ends, walk through occurs, portion of security deposit refunded by check. Amount is disputed, check is never deposited, and landlord does not properly address the dispute. New 1 year lease signed with 1 tenant from previous lease and 2 new tenants. New tenants encounter issues with landlord, are evicted/break lease after approximately four months. Landlord sends list of damages to both sets of tenants with total of damages higher than the sum of both security deposits. Threatens to send all tenants to collections if the remaining alleged damages are not paid. Can the landlord do this?

Upon review, I want to make sure I clarify this point. After the second set of tenants leave, landlord does a walk through and sends a single list of damages addressed to all of the tenants from both the first and second leases, presumably as though they are all jointly liable for alleged damages discovered upon the departure of the second set of tenants. Can she do that? Can she ruin our credit by sending us all to collections?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Depends. After the original walk through, did the tenants get anything in writing regarding the condition of the property after they moved out. I would strongly suggest that you hire a local attorney that specializes in real estate. It sounds like you may need a letter written by an attorney to defend your interest.


  2. I think I understand the issue. Under ARS 33-1321, the landlord must provide an accounting within 14 days of termination of the tenancy regarding damages to the premises and where she has applied the security deposit. Thus, she will not be able to make a claim against the first tenants. Also, if the damages existed before tenants moved in, tenants are not responsible for them. She cannot simply sue each of the tenants and say, in essence, 'you figure out who did the damage.' She bears the burden of proof that the tenant she sued is responsible for the damages.

    No one should rely upon generalized information for their specific matter unless they have consulted with a qualified professional specific to their matter. This is not intended to be used as legal advice to persons who have not retained my services in writing.

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