Eviction Article


Evictions

What is an Eviction?

Eviction cases in Arizona are called Special Detainer Actions or Forcible Entry and Detainer. It is when a landlord says a tenant has not done something that is spelled out in the lease or rental agreement and the landlord wants the tenant to leave so that s/he can take the rental property back under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ARLTA). Most eviction actions happen when the tenant has not paid rent on time.

The Eviction Process for Unpaid Rent

  • Notice is the first step in the eviction process.
  • Notice must be in writing and given in person or by certified mail to the tenant.
  • The landlord can give notice to the tenant that he will terminate the lease if the rent is not paid within five days.
  • On day six, the landlord can file suit. The tenant’s inability to pay the rent is not a legal defense to the lawsuit.

Part Payments

If the landlord accepts a part of the total amount owed after the five day notice is served, the landlord will need to get a written waiver signed by the tenant that allows the landlord to keep going with the eviction if the rest of the amount owed is not paid. Without the written waiver, the landlord gives up the right to end the rental agreement for non-payment of rent during the month.  A.R.S. § 33-1371.

Options for the Tenant

  • The tenant has the right to reinstate the rental agreement by paying the rent due, in full, and any reasonable late fees set out in the lease. Taking this action will avoid eviction if done before the complaint is filed.
  • The tenant has the right to reinstate the rental agreement after the complaint has been filed but before a judgment is entered by paying the rent due, in full, any reasonable late fees set out in the lease, the landlord’s costs and attorney fees. If the tenant does so before a judgment is entered, he can avoid eviction.
  • The tenant does not have a right to reinstate the rental agreement after a judgment has been entered. The landlord has sole discretion over this.

Defenses 

As a general rule, the only defense to an allegation of nonpayment of rent is that the rent was actually paid, in the manner and in the amount provided in the lease. In order to better protect your rights, keep copies of all payments and notices exchanged between your landlord and yourself. Additionally, require your landlord to put all agreements in a writing s/he signs and dates. If you think you will have a problem, try to get additional evidence, such as witnesses or photographs. . If you receive an eviction notice, you are encouraged to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.


Comments:

On 7/29/07
Joseph said
installment sales agreement. buyer has not paid mortage for 2 months, and cannot pay the third. contracts stipulates that if late 2 months contract becomes null and void. Do rules apply for this as they do for tenant/landlord?

On 1/13/07
Cindy said
I am appearing in court Jan 16 for a 2nd time in a year due to a Forcable Detainer. In both cases the landlord viewed me as a threat simply because I expect them to pay for necessary repairs to keep my home safe.I was harassed & threatened by them.

On 9/7/06
Patrick said
Excellent information...Thank you for this website. My tenant will be out shortly..

QUESTIONS

  • We are being evicted, our landlord served us three papers, each of which stated a different reason for eviction, loudness, smoking, non-payment of rent etc. Do her statements have to be consistent with one another? If so, can I use her inconsistency as a defence in court?
  • In 2011 I was late with my rent payment. I received a notice to pay or vacate. I immediately paid the rent past due and late fees in full. The following month my lease expired, I paid my rent due and moved out. Fast forward to 2013 I find out the apartment filed a forcible/special detainer. Is this legal? Am I able to dispute the judgement? Please help. Thanks
  • What process do I need to do to evict a roommate who lives with me and is not on the lease. He is not behind on rent, is gone crazy thinking there are spirits in the house and thinks I have died. Again I am the only one on the lease. Thank you
  • Is a process server the only one that can serve a defendant?
  • How much time must you give a tenant to move out?
  • Do you have to show up to court? I'm not disputing the eviction. I just want to know how many days I have to move and the papers are not 100% clear. The court is further than I thought and would rather not waste the money in gas to go if it's really not necessary.
  • WHAT CAN I DO IF MY LANDLORD DESTROYED OR DISPOSED OF MY PERSONAL PROPERTY PRIOR TO 21 DAYS AFTER THE WRIT OF RESTITUTION WAS EXECUTED AND I MADE AN ATTEMPT TO RECOVER IT PRIOR TO THE 21 DAYS EXPIRING?
  • I am being evicted for complaining. I was served papers at 5:30 on Friday the 12th. I went to the courthouse Monday morning and filed an answer. There was not a judge at the time, the court clerk told me to sign the papers and she would get it taken care of. I also filed a counterclaim. I had to appear in court on the 18th. I appeared in court and asked the judge for a couple days extension so I could have ample time get legal council...he refused. He would not allow me to enter any evidence, pictures, letters, etc. I have 5 days to move....I signed a lease! Can you help me understand
  • I m jn the process of filing a complaint with Az State Commissioner for nonpayment of my wages . This has left me without funds for rent . Do I have any rights due this already stressful hardship to protect me and my 2 kids from becoming homeless?
  • My tenant has not paid rent and I have no lease or rental agreement. Can I evict without one? If so, what at the steps I need to take?

STORIES

  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .
  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .

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FIND LEGAL HELP

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
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