Breaking a Lease in Arizona – Know the Laws

As a rental property owner in Arizona, knowing and understanding the rules and regulations regarding tenants ending a lease early is necessary in order to maintain your rental business. Tenants occasionally want to know how to break a lease in AZ, so it is important to know your rights as a landlord.

We will discuss both unjustified and justified reasons for breaking a lease. This article will go over how to break a lease in Arizona in order to help you understand both your rights to hold and evict a tenant, and your tenants’ rights to stay and leave.

Rental Agreement in Arizona

Before you let a tenant move into your rental home, it’s crucial to write an understandable rental agreement that complies with the Fair Housing Act. When your tenant signs their lease, Arizona landlords are responsible for making sure that tenants are aware of the penalties for unjustifiably breaking it. It is also the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that tenants are aware of their right to justifiably break a lease.

Arizona tenants are not mandated to provide the landlord with a warning for leases with fixed-end dates. This is due to the lease expiring on the last day of the contract. However, tenants are required to provide notices for the following lease terms:

  • Month-to-month lease: Tenants should provide a 30-day notice to terminate.
  • Week-to-week lease: Tenants should provide a 10-day notice to terminate.
    Under the law, Arizona landlords are required to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the property when a tenant breaks a lease. This means that if a tenant pre-terminates the lease, the landlord should re-rent the unit right away, allowing the rent payment from the new tenant to apply to the previous tenant’s debt.

two people making an agreement shaking hands

Finally, a solid lease agreement should also include a clause outlining the tenant’s right to sublet the property in Arizona.

In Arizona, tenants are allowed to sublet the rental unit unless the lease agreement clearly prohibits subletting. Arizona landlords may require tenants to obtain their approval for any sublease. To get approval, tenants must send a letter of request, including the following information, to the landlord via certified mail:

  • Term of the sublease
  • Names and addresses of the assignees
  • Reasons why the tenants are leaving
  • Written consent from any co-tenants
  • Copy of the sublease
    Tenants who break their lease, and do not have any fees to pay, are entitled to the return of their security deposit under the lease agreement. It doesn’t have to be in the lease, it is the law.

Unjustified Reasons to Break a Lease in Arizona

The following reasons do not offer enough explanation to release a tenant from the lease. If a tenant terminates the lease early due to any of these results, they will have no legal protection against retribution.

  • Relocating for a new career or school
  • Moving to be closer to family
  • Moving in with a partner
  • Buying a house
  • Upgrading or downgrading

packing a car with moving boxes

If a tenant breaks a lease for any of the above reasons without court approval or in any conditions not previously outlined, they may face tangible consequences. If a tenant would like to break a lease for any of these reasons, the tenant may ask the landlord to agree to a mutual termination.

Valid Reasons to Break a Lease in Arizona

As a landlord in Arizona, it’s crucial to know and understand the acceptable reasons for a tenant to break their lease. Below, you will find justified reasons for the Arizona landlord-tenant act early termination of a lease:

Early Termination Clause

Arizona landlords may deliberately allow pre-termination of the lease by adding an early termination clause in the rental agreement. Most landlords allow this in exchange for a penalty fee. Make sure to add the amount of the fee, as well as the number of days for the termination notice in your rental agreement.

Active Military Duty

If a tenant enters active military duty during the term of their tenancy, early termination of the lease may be allowed. The tenants must provide proof that they entered the duty after the lease agreement was signed. Also, they must provide a copy of their orders to deploy or Permanent Change of Station, along with a letter signed by their commanding officer.

Unit is Inhabitable

As a landlord in Arizona, you have the responsibility to provide a habitable unit to your tenants. This means that any repair and maintenance issues should be addressed within a reasonable timeframe. Under the law, landlords should also maintain the upkeep of the unit to ensure it is habitable.

cleaning a bathroom with a glove and cloth

If landlords fail to comply with the minimum standards of habitability, tenants have the right to terminate the lease early.

Domestic Violence

Under Arizona law, tenants who are victims of domestic violence have special rental protection. Victims may terminate the lease early without penalty if staying at the property compromises their safety. Also, landlords must change locks on the property if victims of domestic violence request it.

Other Reasons

There are other justifiable reasons that allow tenants to break the lease without penalty. For instance, if the landlord violates any provision in the lease agreement and violates the privacy of the tenants, tenants may pre-terminate the lease.

It’s important to note that, while Arizona landlords have the right to enter the rental premises, they are required to provide at least two days’ notice before entry.

Another reason that may justifiably allow tenants to break a lease is if a landlord fails to disclose mandatory disclosure in the lease agreement. In addition, tenants may be eligible for breaking the lease before it expires if they have health and age-related issues.


Now that you know the reasons for justifiably and unjustifiably breaking a lease in the state of Arizona, it’s essential to be careful to ensure that you stay in compliance with the law.

If you have other questions, you may contact a reliable property manager. get MULTIfamily Property Management is a major property management company in the greater Phoenix area and has been working with landlords and investors for over a decade. Contact us today at 480.795.7938.

This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.