Wondering how to evict someone in Arizona?
Tenants in Arizona, just like their renters in other states, have a responsibility to uphold the terms of the lease agreement.
This means paying rent on time, caring for the unit, and abiding by all terms of the lease agreement.
Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
No matter how thorough your tenant screening process may be, you may find yourself renting to a difficult tenant. And as a consequence, they may end up:
- Failing to make their rent payments. Nonpayment of rent is a serious breach of the lease agreement. It’s a legal cause to evict a tenant.
- Causing disturbance to other neighbors. For instance, by hosting large, noisy parties.
- Failing to move after the lease term ends. Every lease has an end date. When that end date comes, a tenant must move out or renew their lease. If they don't, you can evict them.
- Causing excessive property damage. Renters have a responsibility to leave their rented premises in the same way they found it, minus normal wear and tear. If a tenant causes excessive damage, you may have a right to evict them.
- Not abiding by the terms of the lease agreement. For example, subletting the unit illegally or making unauthorized alterations to the property.
In this article, we’ll go through this important element of landlord-tenant law that you must follow when evicting an Arizona tenant.
1. Arizona Lease Termination Notice
Serving your tenant an eviction notice is the first step of the Arizona eviction process. Basically, an eviction letter tells your tenant that you've started their eviction from the property.
An eviction letter is a legal document and must provide your tenant with the following information:
- The reason for the eviction.
- If the violation is curable, what they must do in order to fix the violation.
- If the violation isn’t curable, the amount of time the tenant has to move out.
There are different eviction notices, with each being specific to the violation. The following are some common violations in Arizona and the specific Arizona lease termination notice you must serve:
Nonpayment of Rent.
You have a right to evict your tenant for failing to pay rent on time. In Arizona, rent becomes late the date after it's due. Any grace periods must be addressed in the lease or rental agreement.
Once the rent is past due and you want to evict your tenant, you must serve them a 5-Day Notice to Pay.
The 5-Day Notice to Pay will give your tenant the chance to pay the rent due within 5 days or move out. If they don’t do either, you may proceed with the next step of going to court.
Violation of the lease agreement.
You can also evict your tenant for failing to uphold the terms of the lease agreement. For example, making unauthorized changes or keeping a pet despite the lease forbidding it.
In Arizona, you may also be able to evict a tenant for putting misleading information on the rental application form. For instance, lying about their eviction history, employment status, or the number of people they're going to be living with.
In this case, you'd serve them with a 10-Day Notice to Comply. This gives the tenant a maximum of 10 days to correct the violation. If the tenant doesn’t do so, you may move to the next step and file for their eviction.
Remaining in the unit after the lease has expired.
A lease runs for a specific period of time. If a tenant overstays the term, they are referred to as a “holdover tenant.” In Arizona, you must give such tenants notice before trying to evicting them.
The specific Arizona lease termination notice to give them depends on the type of lease. If it’s a week-to-week tenancy, you must serve the tenant a 10-Day Notice to Quit. If operating a month-to-month tenancy, you must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period has expired, you may proceed with their eviction.
Violating the Arizona habitability codes.
The warranty of habitability in Arizona stipulates the basic health, safety, and building codes. Examples of such violations include damaging the unit’s electrical wiring or providing harbor for rodents or bugs.
In such instances, you must serve the tenant a 5-Day Notice to Comply. If the tenant still remains on the property and doesn’t correct the issue, you can move to the next step.
2. Summons & Complaint
Next, you must go to court and file a complaint if the tenant doesn’t move out after the notice expires. Normally, this will cost you $63 in filing fees.
Once you’ve filed the complaint, the court will issue a summons on the same day. A certified process server will then serve it to the tenant.
3. Court Hearing & Judgment
Once the summons is issued, the eviction hearing will take place between 3 and 6 days later. Your tenant may be able to file a written answer if they so choose. However, this isn’t required as a condition before appearing at the hearing.
At the hearing, the tenant may object to the eviction by stating any of the following.
- You used illegal eviction tactics.
- You failed to use the proper eviction procedure.
- The eviction is a retaliatory action.
- The eviction is based on discrimination.
4. Writ of Restitution
If the court rules in your favor, you’ll need to request a writ of restitution. This is a legal document that gives the possession of the property back to you. The sheriff is the person tasked with the responsibility of enforcing it.
The filing fee for the writ is $115.00. If the tenant leaves anything in the unit, you can't throw these items away until at least 14 days have passed.
How Long Does It Take to Evict Someone in Arizona?
It depends on many factors, including the type of lease, the tenant's rule violations, and if the tenant requests a continuance. On average, the process takes about 1-6 weeks.
The legal process of evictions in Arizona can be tiring and complex. To avoid dealing with this situation, hire the help of expert property managers in Phoenix to protect your investment.
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice. Arizona eviction laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time you read it. For expert legal advice, kindly hire expert legal help.