In the June meeting, Mark Zinman gave a presentation on SB 1376, which is a bill he helped draft and testified in support of at the Arizona legislature. SB 1376, which is now codified in A.R.S. 33-1368 and A.R.S. 33-1370, changes several laws regarding storage of a tenant’s property. This law became effective on August 3, 2018. Here are the main provisions of the law, which would require you to change your lease and/or your policies and procedures:
The law changes the holding period for storing a tenant’s property to 14 days, regardless of whether possession is obtained through an eviction/writ, or through abandonment of the unit. Previously, possessions had to be held for 21 days after an eviction and for 10 days after abandonment. The new law creates consistency between the two periods, requiring 14 days of storage.
The law now provides that if a tenant returns possession (keys) to the landlord and leaves personal property in the unit, the landlord may immediately dispose of the personal property without liability to the tenant. In other words, if a tenant voluntarily turns in keys (instead of eviction or abandonment), the landlord doesn’t have to store the tenant’s belongings.
If a tenant abandons a pet in the unit, there is a three step/option process a landlord can immediately follow. First, the landlord can immediately remove the animal and take it to a shelter or boarding facility. Second, the landlord can provide reasonable care for the animal for the 14 days. Third, (if the first two won’t work), the landlord shall notify the county enforcement agent under A.R.S. 11-1001 or animal control of the presence of the animal. If the landlord does one of these three steps, they are no longer liable to the tenant for the animal.
A landlord is not required to store any perishable or contaminated items, nor is the landlord required to store any items that pose a health and safety risk to others. This would apply, for example, if a tenant with bed bugs left belongings in a unit and the personal property was infested. The landlord could immediately dispose of such property.
Previously, under the old law, after storing the personal property, if the tenant still had not taken steps to get his/her property, the landlord was required to conduct a sale of the property. Now, the landlord can still conduct a sale if they want to do so, but alternatively, the landlord can also donate the personal property to a qualified charitable organization and then be relieved of further liability. The landlord should keep proof, including receipts, of the donation. Any tax benefits go to the tenant.
Remember, under the law, a landlord must still inventory and notify the tenant of the location of the personal items. This should be done as soon as the landlord gets possession of the unit. A Notice of Location of Personal Property should be sent to the tenant’s last known address.
By Mark B. Zinman
Attorney Williams, Zinman & Parham P.C.
(480) 994-4732 by www.wzplegal.com
For more information regarding real estate investing, visit the AZREIA (Arizona Real Estate Investors Association) website @ https://azreia.org