State moves to control landlord-tenant relations

Empty house for rent in a residential housing development

 

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Republican lawmakers agreed Thursday to put new limits on the regulations that cities and counties can enact on landlords.

The legislation, approved by the House Government Committee on a 6-5 party-line vote, declares all relations between landlords and tenants to be “a matter of statewide concern.” More to the point, HB2115 bars locally elected councils and boards from enacting new rules of their own.”

Facing stiff opposition from cities and tenant-rights advocates, Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, agreed to make the restrictions prospective only.

That would leave in place existing regulations that govern things like lighting requirements to non-discrimination ordinances, but only in the communities where they already have been enacted. It would bar other cities and counties from following suit.

That, however, did not blunt opposition amid concerns that it means council members in a city with no local regulations could not decide that the rules in an adjoining city make sense for their own tenants, as well.

“You’re mandating inequality,” said Ken Volk, founder of the Arizona Tenants Association.

Arizona Multihousing Association, an organization of landlords, is pushing the measure. Lobbyist Jake Hinman said uniformity is important.

“We think the state should have one state of rules for both landlords and tenants,” he said.

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