Question: I was served my notices and went to court with my landlord. She got a judgement against me for unpaid rent and was granted a writ of restitution to be received on 9-1-09. On the morning of 9-1-09 when I returned to the property to finish moving, she had locked the gates. My dogs were still there and I had not been served the writ by the constable. Turns out that she did not received the writ until 10:18 that morning but the gates were locked at 8:48 a.m. Does the writ have to be served or is it just given to the landlord and they can do as they please?
Answer: The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act governs the lawful and unlawful behavior of landlords and tenants and can be found under §§ 33-1301- 1381 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. A.R.S. § 33-1311 requires that Landlords deal with Tenants in good faith. Similarly, the tenant has a duty to pay the landlord rent. A.R.S. § 33-1377 allows the landlord to file a special detainer action to obtain remedy for past rent owed by a tenant, if the tenant does not pay rent. Assuming that the Court finds that past rent is due to the landlord as per the detainer action, the Court will issue a writ of restitution as per A.R.S. § 12-1181. The date that the Court issues this writ is important, because it signals the start date of certain time frames. A.R.S. § 33-1368(E) dictates that a landlord must hold the tenant’s property for a period of twenty-one days starting on the day the writ of restitution is executed by the Court. The landlord has a duty to hold and store the property of the tenant using “reasonable care.” As per A.R.S. §33-1368(E), if the tenant's former dwelling unit is used to store the property, the landlord may change the locks on that unit at the landlord's discretion. This information is provided as information only, and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. To find out how the law applies to your specific situation, you may want to contact an attorney directly.
November 09, 2009