During a recent Leasing Essentials class (part of the Certified Risk Management Specialist course) taught by course instructors Sue Flucke, CRB, CRMS, GRI, West USA Realty and Denise Holliday, Esq., several REALTORS® asked for more information on whether placing a lockbox on a tenant-occupied property violates a tenant’s rights.
ISSUE: Under the residential lease, the tenant is obligated to permit a lockbox on the home after receiving a written request by the landlord or the landlord’s broker. The residential lease is expiring, and the landlord’s broker wants to place a lockbox on the home. The tenant is refusing despite the language in the residential lease authorizing a lock box. Can the tenant refuse this lockbox?
ANSWER: Yes. Under the Arizona Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (the Act), a landlord must generally give a tenant at least two days’ notice before entering the home. (See A.R.S. §33-1343D). The placing of a lockbox on the home is “entering” the home without two days notice, as real estate agents will have the ability to enter the home at any time without the tenant’s consent. Inasmuch as the primary purpose of the Act is to protect the rights of tenants, a term in the residential lease contradicting the protections of this Act is not enforceable. Therefore, despite the tenant’s written consent in the residential lease to a lock box, a lock box is not allowed.