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Rental homes are big business in Phoenix. The 2015 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau projects that 42.4% of Maricopa County’s 567,191 total renter-occupied housing units are detached homes or duplexes. That’s 240,488 rentals in Maricopa County that are not apartments.
The state of Arizona wants cities and towns to be able to reach their landlords.
If the headline doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry. It is not uncommon to find real estate investors in the Valley who are not familiar with the registration requirement for Arizona residential rental properties. The 1999 statute is not widely advertised. I’ve assembled the resources and links below to bring more information to Maricopa and Pinal County landlords.
What Is The Arizona Rental Registry?
Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 33-1902 requires that all residential rental properties in the state be registered with the county assessor in which the property is located.
The provisions of the statute were developed in 1998 collectively by groups of neighborhood action committees, state legislators, county health inspectors, Phoenix police, city maintenance inspectors and federal attorneys.
While there are many cities and municipalities in the nation that require a rental registration, Arizona one of the only states with this requirement. Maryland requires registration of pre-1978 rental housing for lead-based paint monitoring. Registration in Ohio is limited to its 12 largest counties.
The Arizona law was signed by Governor Jane Hull on March 23, 1999 and enforcement began August 6th of that year. Arizona county assessors are required to maintain the database. They don’t enforce it. That is the job of the cities and towns that can draw on the information.
Who Does It Apply To?
Owners of residential Rentals in any of Arizona’s 15 counties that are any of the following:
- Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
It is not limited to income properties. The statute even applies to property that is occupied by a parent, relative or stepchild of the owner, although this tax classification may resemble owner occupancy. These non-owner occupants are referred to as Qualified Family Members.
Out-of-state landlords are required to appoint a statutory agent who resides in Arizona to receive legal notices. In many cases, statutory agents are property managers, friends or family members.
Why Is It Needed?
The rental registry database addresses the issue of elusive landlords whose properties are blighted. The absentee landlords could not be easily located through layers of property management or incomplete contact information with the county recorder’s office. Distant landlords had little incentive to maintain minimum health and safety standards.
Neighborhood groups were behind the drive to give teeth to local code enforcement officials to address dilapidated properties with absentee owners.
Vacant homes and absentee landlords are perhaps a more significant issue here in the Valley than in other parts of the country. First, Maricopa County is the largest (by volume) county in the nation for second homes. That is a lot of seasonally vacant, rentable homes. Canadian snowbirds alone collectively own more than 20,000 vacation homes in the Valley. Lastly, due to our top billing in the Great Recession real estate crisis of 2008, out-of-state and foreign investors swooped through the Valley en masse to buy up foreclosures between 2007 and 2014.
When Is the Deadline?
If previously unregistered rentals are voluntarily reported, there is no penalty. However, if the municipality initiates contact by mail with and owner of a rental and there is no response within 10 days, a civil penalty of $1,000 is assessed and accrues at an additional $100 per month until paid.
Not knowing about the registration is not a defense against the fines.
How Do I Register?
Registration can be performed online, by certified mail or in person.
For online submission, visit www.mcassessor.maricopa.gov. Type the address of your rental property into the search bar. Click on the parcel number of the property in the APN field. The next page will reveal the parcel details. Look for the “Register Rental” button in the menu bar on the page. Follow instructions to provide landlord and/or statutory agent contact information. Credit card payments can be processed online for the $10 fee. Personal checks made payable to “Maricopa County Assessor” are accepted when you hand deliver your registration form at the Assessor’s office.
Look for the “Register Rental” button in the menu bar on the page. Follow instructions to provide landlord and/or statutory agent contact information.
Credit card payments can be processed online for the registration fee. Personal checks made payable to “Maricopa County Assessor” are accepted when you hand deliver your registration form at the Assessor’s office.
Follow this link if you would like to print the Arizona Residential Rental Property Registration form for hand delivery or certified mail. The delivery address is:
Maricopa County Assessor’s Office
301 W. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
How Much Does It Cost to Register My Rental?
There is a $10 per parcel fee for every initial registration. Later, if there are changes to the name, address or contact information for the property owner or statutory agent, the county assessor’s office must be notified within 10 days of the change. The $10 fee also applies to updates.
Where Can I Get More Information?
If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact the Maricopa County Assessor’s office at 602-506-3406 x 3 or a local real estate attorney.
Most people don’t know that I am an accomplished dramatic actor… But I’ve performed in several Shakespeare productions including Hamlet, except in this version, Hamlet lives in an apartment with two women, and has to pretend he’s gay so that the landlord won’t evict him. – John Ritter, American actor who played the role of Jack Tripper on the ABC sitcom Three’s Company