Property Management Blog

A Guide to the Eviction Process in Phoenix, Arizona

Tim Melton - Thursday, September 23, 2021
Property Management Blog

Wondering about the eviction process in Arizona?

Both the landlord and the tenant in Arizona, just like any renter in other states, have a responsibility to uphold the terms of the lease or rental agreement per the state's Landlord-Tenant Act. 

This means paying rent on time, caring for the rental unit, and abiding by all terms of the agreement. 

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. 

No matter how thorough a landlord's tenant screening process may be, as a landlord, you may find yourself renting to a difficult tenant. And as a consequence, you may file an eviction complaint if the tenant is:

  • Failing to make a rent payment. Nonpayment of rent is a serious way a renter can breach of the lease or rental agreement. When a tenant fails to pay rent or decides to withhold rent, a landlord has legal cause to evict them. 
  • Causing disturbance to other neighbors. For instance, if the tenant hosts 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 rental agreement. If the tenant doesn't, a landlord can evict the tenant. 
  • Causing excessive rental property damage. Tenants 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 requiring necessary repairs a landlord may have a right to evict the tenant. 
  • Not abiding by the terms of the lease agreement. For example, when a tenant violates the agreement by subletting the rental illegally or making unauthorized alterations to the rental. 

In this article, we’ll go through this important element of landlord-tenant law that a landlord must follow, from the beginning of the eviction process in Arizona, how to file an eviction, to the eviction lawsuit to the court judgment.

1. Lease Termination Notice 

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When a landlord decides to evict a tenant, giving the tenant proper notice is the first step of the Arizona eviction process. Basically, an eviction letter, or written notice, whether it's delivered by hand or registered or certified mail, tells your tenant that you've started their eviction from the rental. 

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 Arizona eviction notices, with each being specific to the violation. The following are some common violations and the specific Arizona lease termination notice a landlord must serve:

Nonpayment of Rent.

When a tenant doesn't pay rent, a landlord has a right to evict them. Rent becomes late the date after it's due. Any grace periods must be addressed in the lease or rental agreement. 

Once paying rent is past due for the tenant and the landlord intends to proceed with the eviction process in Arizona, a landlord must serve tenants a 5-Day Notice to Pay. 

This Arizona eviction notice period will give the tenant the chance to provide the landlord with the rent the tenant owes within 5 days or move out. If the tenant receives the notice and hasn't paid rent or vacated the premises within 5 days, the landlord may proceed with the next step of going to Arizona courts. 

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Violation of the lease agreement. 

Arizona landlords can also evict a tenant for failing to uphold the terms of the lease agreement. For example, making unauthorized changes or keeping unauthorized pets despite the rental agreement forbidding it. 

A landlord may also be able to evict tenants 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, the landlord would serve them with written notice called a 10-Day Notice to Comply. This gives the tenant a maximum of 10 days to correct the violation. If the tenant refuses to do so, the landlord may move to the next step and file for their eviction. 

Remaining in the rental unit after the agreement 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, a landlord must give a tenant notice before trying to evicting them. 

The specific Arizona lease termination notice to give them depends on the type of agreement. If it’s a week-to-week tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant a 10-Day Notice to Quit. If tenants pay monthly rent, the landlord must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit. 

If the tenant remains on the rental property after the period on the written notice has expired, the landlord may proceed with their eviction. 

Violating habitability codes. 

The warranty of habitability in Arizona law 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, the notice a landlord must serve the tenant is 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

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After providing an eviction notice, if the tenant doesn't move out after the notice expires, the first step in an eviction lawsuit is to go to court and file a complaint. Normally, filing a complaint means landlords will pay $63 in filing fees

Once landlords have filed the complaint and made the filing fees payment for the complaint, the court serves the tenant with a summon on the same day. A certified process server will then serve it to the tenant. 

3. Court Hearing & Judgment

Once the summons is issued and served by the process server, the hearing will take place between 3 and 6 days later. Your tenant may be able to file a written answer to the eviction suit if they so choose. However, this isn’t required as a condition before appearing at the eviction hearing. 

At the court date hearing, the tenant may object to the eviction action by stating any of the following. 

  • Landlords used illegal eviction tactics. 
  • The landlord 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's judgement rules in the landlords favor, you’ll need to request a writ of restitution. Writ of Restitutions are court documents - a legal document based on the court's judgement that gives the possession of the rental back to you. A law enforcement officer from a government agency such as a sheriff is the person tasked with the responsibility of enforcing it. 

One of the court costs you'll accrue when performing an Arizona eviction hearing date and receiving judgement is the filing fee for the writ of restitution which is $115.00. If any of the tenant's personal belongings are left in the rental unit, you can't throw away the tenant's personal property 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 rental agreement, the tenant's lease violations, the court's judgement, and if the tenant requests a continuance. On average, the eviction process, from the initial notice period to completion, takes about 1-6 weeks.

The legal eviction process 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 from a licensed attorney. The Arizona eviction process and laws change, and this post might not be updated with the most current Arizona revised statutes at the time you read it. For expert legal advice, kindly hire expert legal help such as an attorney.