At the May 8, 2010 NSN meeting, Deputy County Attorney for Neighborhood Protection Brad Holland spoke to neighborhood leaders about problem properties. Rental property owners are responsible for the people they allow into the neighborhood. Landlords range from “clueless to evil” and everything in between. Brad noted that "clueless" is not a defense. We should make sure that our neighborhoods' property owners know what is acceptable. If a property is "not acceptable," then don't just quote the statutes, etc, but let him/her know it is unacceptable.
Brad had a number of tips for dealing with chronic problems, including asking the property owner whether he/she had an attorney. If yes, contact the lawyer. The lawyer then is ethically obligated to inform the client about the legality of what ever the complaint is, and will explain the laws, saving your time. Brad explained that under AZ law landlords with notice of a nuisance are liable. Just notifying the property manager does not close the loop; it needs to go to the property owner. So when you write to the landlord/owner include the phrase: "This letter serves as notice." Brad recommends forming a committee or subcommittee under the neighborhood association to deal with problem properties, to make it a collective "We" rather than one individual lodging the complaint.
Some problem property owners let the police handle the problems created by their tenants. Police are not the landlords' property managers. Police Community Service Officers (Midtown's is CSO Becky Noel) will work with owners in an attempt to resolve continuing issues. Explain problem(s) broadly in the letter, to include everything with the idea that a judge will review. Include police case reports (calls for service) at the property. Photograph and document everything you can. Don't approach the owner until documentation, with dates, times and particulars, is in hand. In building a case against a property owner with a nuisance property, you need to have multiple people complaining, and be able to paint a picture understood by reasonable people that "there are horrible outcomes embedded" in the problem being reported. For your information, Baird Greene is the Chief City Prosecutor.