Landlord Eviction Process in Arizona: A Comprehensive Guide
To evict a tenant in Arizona, the landlord must follow a state-specific process, thanks to unique eviction laws. There could be many reasons why a landlord could file an eviction notice, ranging from delayed rent payment to violation of the rental agreement.
For example, it’s possible to evict a tenant that illegally sublets the apartment. While a landlord may evict a tenant for ant legitimate reason, they must not use threats or disconnect utilities to make the eviction effective.
The problem is that many landlords do not understand the eviction process in Arizona. If you’re one of them, don’t worry. This comprehensive guide should explain to you how to evict a tenant the right way.
Reasons to Evict a Tenant in Arizona
According to the Arizona law governing the eviction of tenants, a landlord can remove the tenant from their house under very specific circumstances. That ensures that the eviction action is legal and devoid of the breakage of the law.
An understanding of critical Arizona eviction laws should help you confidently file an eviction and protect your rights as a landlord. The following are the common reasons why a landlord may decide to evict a tenant in Arizona:
1. Default in Rent Payment
Every lease agreement includes a requirement for timely rent payment. That ensures that the landlord can cover all their expenses and effectively maintain the property.
If a tenant owes rent for several months, a landlord may a five-day notice to pay rent or get evicted. That means the landlord must give the tenant a five-day grace period to complete paying all the rent they owe.
There are two possible outcomes: a tenant pays the full rent or declines to do so. In the case of the former, the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction.
If the tenant doesn’t pay rent, the landlord can commence the Arizona eviction process pronto. Thus, the landlord can file an eviction claim in a court of law.
2. Filling Out False Information on a Rental Application
Eviction laws in Arizona hold rental agreements in the highest esteem such that any falsification of information can lead to eviction. Thus, misleading information such as false criminal history or employment on a lease or rental agreement could lead to eviction.
In case of this kind of lease violation, the landlord must give the tenant a 10-day notice to provide accurate information or vacate the building. The written notice means the tenant has 10 days to provide accurate information and rectify the violation.
If the tenant complies, the landlord must withdraw the eviction notice. Otherwise, they must vacate within the initial notice period or wait for the landlord to commence the eviction process.
3. Smoking on the Premises
A tenant may violate the lease or rental agreement by smoking on the premises. That’s especially true if the lease agreement had expressly stated that the building was a non-smoking property.
Thus, the landlord may give an eviction notice to a tenant who compromises the health and safety of other occupants of the building by smoking on the premises.
The landlord must provide the tenant with a 10-day notice to stop smoking on the premises or vacate the building.
Besides informing the tenant of the violation, the written notice gives them 10 days to take corrective steps. If the tenant doesn’t comply, the landlord can file an eviction complaint in court.
4. Conducting Illegal Activity
If the tenant appears to be engaged in illegal activities, the landlord can file an eviction notice. Such activities may include drug-related offenses, prostitution, violence, and other activities that threaten the health and safety of other tenants.
As a result of this lease violation, the landlord must issue a written notice for the tenant to vacate the building. Unlike the other reasons for evicting a tenant, this violation has no specified grace period. Therefore, it’s up to the landlord to decide how long it will be.
Reasons Landlords Cannot Evict Tenants in Arizona
Even though Arizona law protects landlords against problematic tenants, a landlord cannot evict a tenant under given circumstances. The lease and rental agreement protects the tenant. That’s because it is a legally binding agreement between the landlord and tenant.
To remove a tenant and legally regain possession of the property, the landlord must comply with revised Arizona laws. In case of an illegal eviction action, the tenant could stop the process by citing the following reasons:
A landlord executing the eviction process by changing locks or shutting down utilities
Errors in the eviction notice such as no indication of the date when the tenant should vacate
A landlord initiating an eviction process to retaliate against a tenant who complained about building code violations
A landlord discriminating against a tenant based on their race, gender, nationality, or religion
The Tenant Eviction Process in Arizona
The eviction process in Arizona is strict and landlords must take each step at a time to repossess the house. By adhering to the eviction process, the landlord effectively adheres to the laid down laws and regulations. Here are the steps to evict tenants in Arizona.
Step 1: Serve An Eviction Notice
At the start of the eviction process, a residential landlord must give the tenant a written notice. In that case, there must be a Notice to Comply or Vacate, based on the violation the tenant could have engaged in. Through the notice, a landlord formally communicates to the tenant about the violation, allowing them to remedy the situation.
For example, the tenant could pay rent if the notice was about failure to do so. As soon as the tenant pays the rent, the notice ends. Otherwise, the landlord can file an eviction complaint in a court of law.
Besides stating the reason for eviction, the notice should provide a grace period for compliance or vacation. The grace period could be five to 10 days based on the violation.
The following are the types of notices a landlord can file in Arizona:
1. 5-Day Notice to Pay Rent
A landlord may file a five-day notice for a tenant to pay the rent they owe. The expectation is for the tenant to pay and stop the eviction process. After the grace period, the landlord may file a complaint in court.
2. 10-Day Notice to Comply
The tenant may violate provisions of the rental agreement triggering the landlord to give a ten-day notice to comply. A good example is including false information in the lease agreement. In that case, the tenant must comply within ten days.
3. 10-to-30-Day Notice to Quit
A tenant could also serve a 10-to-30-day notice to vacate the premises. The grace period depends on the type of tenancy. For example, weekly tenants could get a 10-day notice. Monthly tenants may get a 30-day quit notice.
Step 2: File an Eviction Complaint in a Court of Law
The tenant may comply with the requirements of the eviction notice or vacate. If they fail to do neither within the grace period, the landlord can file an eviction complaint in a court of law.
Of course, the landlord would have to meet the necessary court costs, including filing fees. At this stage of the eviction process, the landlord provides details of the eviction, including the amount owed if rent is in arrears.
Besides what the tenant owes, the eviction complaint would prove other details supporting the case. After receiving the complaint, the court will promptly notify the tenant through a summons to appear on the hearing date.
The summons also informs the tenant of their right to a legal defense. Once the tenant appears in court, they will state their side of the story.
Step 3: Attending the Eviction Hearing and Getting Judgment
During the eviction hearing, the landlord and tenant present their evidence and arguments before a justice court. The landlord may present their case by providing the eviction notice, rental agreement, and other evidence relating to the case.
The eviction hearing provides an opportunity for the tenant to mount a legal defense by disputing the landlord’s claims. Thus, the tenant could base their arguments on some of the following defenses:
Glaring errors in the eviction notice
Where the landlord initiated the eviction process to retaliate against the tenant exercising their rights
Attempts by the landlord to evict a tenant without going to court (using self-help methods)
The landlord filed an eviction complaint despite the tenant complying with the requirements of the tenant notice
A landlord forcefully executes the eviction by throwing away the tenant’s personal property
Afterward, the judge will consider all the evidence adduced in the justice court, including the rental agreement to issue a judgment. In that case, the landlord would expect an eviction judgment while the tenant expects a stay.
Step 4: Taking Possession and Obtaining a Writ of Restitution
Once the eviction judgment is out, the tenant has the option of voluntarily vacating the property or getting removed by force. If the tenant fails to move out voluntarily, the landlord will obtain a Writ of Restitution.
The purpose of the Writ of Restitution is to authorize the police to forcefully remove the tenant from the building and restore it to the landlord.
Of course, the landlord will hand the Writ of Restitution to the sheriff, who will arrange to execute it and a specified time. They will remove the tenant’s personal property before returning the premises to the landlord. The landlord may then take possession of the property by changing the locks.
How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Arizona?
There is no standard established timeline for the eviction process in Arizona. The eviction hearing may drag on for a long time, depending on the nature of the lease and rental agreement.
Also, whether the eventual court judgment is satisfactory could trigger the tenant to apply for the continuation of the case. Where there are no complications, an eviction hearing should typically take one to six weeks from the date of filing.
Arizona law gives both the landlord and tenant certain rights, which shouldn’t be violated during the eviction process. Thus, landlords must stay abreast with prevailing eviction laws. Otherwise, they would not succeed in evicting tenants even when they think they are right to do so.
Besides knowing the Arizona eviction laws, you need a good understanding of the entire process involved. You may need the help of an attorney to interpret the lease and rental agreement and file an eviction complaint. Otherwise, you could end up making costly mistakes that make it difficult to evict a tenant.
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