As 2020 continues to be a year of challenges and disasters, Pima County Landlords and Tenants face the potential of damage to residential units by the Big Horn Fire. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has issued alerts warning some residents near the fire to be ready to evacuate. What does this mean for Landlords and Tenants?
Landlords should notify tenants in these areas and confirm they are aware of the evacuation possibility. Tenants should prepare to evacuate if they are in the Evacuation areas. The Pima County Evacuation Plan is three steps. The first is READY by preparing to evacuate. The second step is SET – BE ALERT which means watching for notices for Evacuate and being aware of conditions. The third and final state is GO which means evacuate immediately.
Pima County suggests residents in the areas at risk consider the following items while in the READY Stage. You need to prepare to evacuate 1. People, 2. Pets (and food or other necessary items for your pets), 3. Prescriptions 4. Important Papers or Documents (birth certificates etc.), 5. Personal (clothing and toiletries) and 5. Priceless items (Heirlooms, family photos and the like). Pack these items and have them close by so you can grab them and go if conditions merit the GO stage.
All people need to follow and comply with all information and requests from Pima County Personnel.
Once able to return to residential units, Landlords and Tenants need to be ready to assess damage to the property if applicable. Tenants are responsible for their personal property and should contact the agent for their Renter’s Insurance with any personal property damage. Landlords should be prepared to make any needed repairs to the real property/structure of the residential unit.
ARS 33-1366 addresses fire damage for landlords and tenants. If the unit has been “substantially impaired” the tenant may either 1. Immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days of his intent to terminate the rental agreement or 2. Continue occupying the unit if allowed by law and vacate any portion that is unusable due to the fire damage whereby rent will be reduced accordingly. If the property is not “substantially impaired” the landlord must make any needed repairs and the lease remains in full force and effect.
As with all Landlord Tenant relationships it is important that the parties communicate. Each case and situation is unique and Landlords and Tenants can always agree and negotiate for other arrangements as applicable.
Most importantly, please stay calm and safe.

Critical Links with up to date information regarding Evacuation and Fire Information:
Pima County Sheriff Facebook
Pima County Sheriff News Updates
Please be aware things are changing rapidly. Everyone is encouraged to sign up for alerts through the Pima County Sheriff’s office. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department App can be downloaded to your phone or tablet.

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