Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: My husband and I own a home and have rented out a room to a man under a month to month lease. After 8 months we have decided that this is no longer what we want and have served him his 30 day notice to vacate. During this period he has moved his girlfriend in who never leaves our home even when he is at work and stays the night every night for the past 2 weeks. We clearly have it stated in the lease that the tenant shall not have overnight guests for more than 2 nights in a one week period. Can I call the cops and have her escorted off our property?

Answer:

Police could be called to remove a person from privately owned property.  However, they may not be able to remove a person depending on the facts of a given situation.

There are two areas of law which may be implicated here; it is impossible to conclusively determine which without more details.  The first area concerns landlord/tenant law.  The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides that a landlord may terminate a lease agreement for "material noncompliance by the tenant."  A.R.S. 33-1368.  A material noncompliance includes "material falsification of the information provided on the rental application" and material falsification includes "number of occupants in the dwelling unit." A.R.S. 33-1368.  If after termination on the lease the tenant remains in possession of the property, the landlord may bring a forcible detainer action to remove the tenant.  To initiate a forcible detainer action, the plaintiff must file a complaint with the clerk of the surperior court or with a justice of the peace.  The complaint must (1) be in writing, (2) be sworn under oath, (3) contain a description of the premises of which possession is claimed in enough detail to identify the property, and (4) state the facts which entitle the plaintiff to possession.  A.R.S. 12-1175

The other area of law that may be implicated is trespass.  A person commits trespass when he "knowingly enter[s] or remain[s] unlawfully on any real property after a reasonably request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, or reasonable notice prohibiting entry."  A.R.S. 13-1502.  Trespass is a criminal offense and police officers can remove a trespasser.  It is important to remember that the person must be unlawfully present.  If they have been invited by someone who has the authority to invite them onto the property, there is no trespass.

It is also important to remember that a landlord cannot take unilateral, forceful action to remove a person from his property.  A.R.S. 33-1374.  To determine how to proceed in a specific situation, consult an attorney.

QUESTIONS

  • My husband and I own a home and have rented out a room to a man under a month to month lease. After 8 months we have decided that this is no longer what we want and have served him his 30 day notice to vacate. During this period he has moved his girlfriend in who never leaves our home even when he is at work and stays the night every night for the past 2 weeks. We clearly have it stated in the lease that the tenant shall not have overnight guests for more than 2 nights in a one week period. Can I call the cops and have her escorted off our property?

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