Arizona real estate law is the body of constitutional, statutory, and administrative rules that apply to landlords, tenants, investors, and homebuyers in the acquisition, use, and transfer of real estate. These rules also extend to the homestead exemption available to property owners during bankruptcy in Arizona. The judiciary applies the real estate law to adjudicate the following common issues that arise under Arizona real estate law:
Individuals who openly claim, live in, and renovate an abandoned/unused piece of real property can gain the title to that property within a sufficient time (Az. Rev. Stat. 12-521 seq.). Per Arizona law on adverse possession, this time is two to five years. Generally, the individual must meet statutory requirements such as laying a public claim to the property, paying outstanding property taxes, and acting as the rightful owner.
Adverse possession is legal but unusual. The individual is a trespasser, claiming the property against the interests of the actual title holders. To reclaim the property, the actual titleholder must pursue an action for trespass in the superior court within three years (Az. Rev. Stat. 12-523). Likewise, the trespasser may also defend his/her right to own the property.
Property Lines and Boundaries
Property lines are defined points of where a piece of land ends and where neighboring lands begin. Property records from the county assessor and survey reports are sources of identifying property lines in Arizona. These records also help the determination of easement and adjudication boundary disputes between neighbors.
This section of Arizona real estate law protects the equity of a property owner from liquidation during bankruptcy. Generally, debtors may exempt up to $150,000 of equity in their home, land, or other real estate property (Az. Rev. Stat. 33-1101).
Tenant Rights, Security Deposit & Real Estate Contracts
Arizona real estate law defines and protects the rights of tenants acquiring residential or commercial real estate for an agreed time. Landlords may not discriminate against tenants based on race, gender, religion, or social status. Furthermore, Arizona real estate laws limit security deposits to one month rent. The landlord must return the security deposit within fourteen days of terminating the lease. A real estate contract is a legal document that outlines the extent and limitations of the parties’ right to use or modify a real estate property.
Real Estate Tax
Also called ad valorem tax, this is the tax levied on a real estate based on its fair market value, as assessed by the county property appraiser. This tax is payable annually or at the time of a real estate transaction.