Eviction Statistics in Arizona

There is a distinct pattern or cycle to the volume of residential evictions that occur throughout the year in Arizona. For instance, each year there is a spike of evictions in January, why is this?

landlords DELAY EVICTIONS DURING HOLIDAYS

Contrary to popular believe most landlords are actually nice people who have feelings too. Many landlords will not evict tenants during the holiday season. Beginning with Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s Day, landlords will often say, “I don’t want to evict someone during the holiday season and so I’ll just wait until the new year to begin the eviction process.”

justice COURTS WILL DELAY THE EVICTIONS

Experienced Arizona landlord – tenant attorneys and property managers know that the justice court judges and constables will do whatever they can to not evict an Arizona resident during the holiday season. After an eviction judgment has been granted by the court the tenants have just five (5) calendar days to vacate! If the Arizona tenant does not vacate within those five (5) calendar days, then we can go back into court and file for a Writ of Restitution. Writs must first be signed by the judge and then delivered to the constable for service.

Judges know that evictions are time sensitive and so they typically sign the order granting the Writ of Restitution almost immediately upon receiving it. However, during the holidays judges are often out of town which means there is no one to sign the writ. Additionally, even when the judges are in the office they are very slow to sign the writs. This is done in an attempt to slow down the actual eviction. Judges “misplace” them or are “too busy” working on other matters to sign the writs immediately. So it can take days before a judge will sign the writ.

Once the writ gets to the Arizona constables there is another big slow down in the eviction process. Similar to judges many constables leave town during the holiday season and so they are not physically able to execute the Writs of Restitution. Furthermore, I have had constables tell me to my face that they will not execute writs near Thanksgiving or Christmas.

For the reasons mentioned above there has been a build-up of delayed evictions that are then started in January.

arizona EVICTIONS AND TAX REFUNDS

I believe the decreased number of Arizona evictions in February, March, and April are directly correlated to tax refunds. Many people receive large tax refunds that they can use to pay their rent. I remember the first time I passed through those months as an eviction attorney. Sure enough each year when the tax refund season is over then the evictions increase. 

One of the highest months for evictions each year is June. I think the spike during the beginning of summer has something to do with kids getting out of school and families wanting to move. When families are struggling economically and they want to move and they may stop paying rent at their current home and use that would-be rent money and use it as rent and security deposit, etc. at the new property.

pima county eviction statistics

The Pima County Consolidated Justice Court has a webpage with very detailed eviction statistics for its precinct. Click HERE.

If you are an Arizona landlord and need help resolving a dispute with a tenant, then please contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.

When Tenant Files Bankruptcy

What Should You do if a Tenant Files Bankruptcy?

A landlord must immediately stop an eviction if a tenant files bankruptcy. If you receive a notice from the bankruptcy court that a tenant you are trying to evict has filed bankruptcy then stop the process! Bankruptcy law is very complicated, with severe penalties for any creditors seeking to take action against someone who has filed for bankruptcy. If a tenant files for bankruptcy before you have obtained the eviction judgment then you must stop with the eviction lawsuit.

As soon as a person files bankruptcy an “automatic stay of protection” goes into effect. The Automatic stay of bankruptcy is an injunction that stops; garnishments, lawsuits, foreclosure, repossession, evictions, etc. It is the equivalent of a restraining order that prevents creditors from taking collection actions.

The Automatic Stay is not Absolute

The automatic stay is not an absolute and landlords are given the right to file a Motion with the bankruptcy court requesting the bankruptcy to “lift” the automatic stay. Once the automatic stay has been “lifted”, the landlord may proceed with the eviction. It takes approximately 30 days for the bankruptcy court to grant permission to proceed with the eviction. If the tenant files an “objection” to the lift-stay motion then a hearing will be set in the bankruptcy court. If a hearing is required, then it may be 2 to 3 months before a hearing has been set and the request to lift the stay can be argued in front of a bankruptcy judge.

If you are an Arizona landlord whose tenant has filed for bankruptcy then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

The Dunaway Law Group provides this information as a service to clients and other friends for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers. The Firm limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.

Eviction Trials in Arizona

What is the Difference between an Eviction Hearing and Eviction Trial?

Every eviction case in Arizona requires a hearing but occasionally a case will also be set for trial. An eviction case will be set for trial if a tenant appears at the initial hearing and presents a legitimate legal defense.

If a tenant presents a legitimate legal defense then the judge will allow each side between a few minutes, and a few seconds to present their legal arguments before deciding if the matter should be set for trial. Plus, judges will not listen to testimony or view evidence at the initial hearing. This means that landlords are not able to speak at the initial hearing.

1. What happens at the initial hearing? Eviction hearings are bunched into tight blocks of time. It is not uncommon for 30 eviction hearings to be scheduled in a 60 minute block! Before COVID all hearings were held in person but now the parties are allowed to appear telephonically or via Zoom, depends on the court. During these hearings, all of the parties and their attorneys are on the call at the same time and so it is loud, chaotic, and very fast paced. Judges are under pressure to keep moving through the cases to stay on time because they have more hearings in the next hour!

This short period of time does not allow for testimony, opening arguments, or to review evidence.

2. Why would a judge set a case for trial? Just because a case was set for trial it does not mean that the tenant did something right or that we did something wrong.

If the original eviction Complaint was filed for failure to pay rent a tenant might appear and too the judge that they are actually current on their rent. As mentioned above, the Judge does not have time during this block of time to hear either parties’ argument, and he or she will set it for trial.

Another example is if the eviction case was filed for a material breach of the lease agreement. For instance, if the signed lease agreement states that only two people may occupy the property. If the property owner finds out that there are 22 people living in the house he or she may file for an eviction based on the fact that the Tenants had more than the allowed number of occupants in the home; which is a breach of the original signed agreement. However, the Defendant (tenant) may appear and claim that the people in the house are just visiting. In this case the matter would be set for trial because there is a factual dispute around how many people actually live in the house.

If the case is set for trial then by Rule 11(c) of the Rules of Civil Procedure for Eviction Actions, the trial should be held “within three court days in justice court or ten days in superior court on the request of a party for good cause shown or to accommodate the demands of the court’s calendar… No continuance of more than three court days in justice courts or ten days in superior courts may be ordered unless both parties are in agreement”.

3. What to Expect at an Eviction Trial. Eviction trials can last from 30 minutes to several hours. At trial, both parties are given the opportunity to make brief introductory statements. Landlords and tenants may introduce evidence and question witnesses. Evidence will consist of pictures, emails, text messages, lease agreements, etc.

If you need help from an experienced Arizona attorney, then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.

Arizona Eviction Process

Steps to Residential Evictions in Arizona

1. notice to tenants

In Arizona, a written notice must be sent to the tenant(s) before beginning a residential eviction.

2. Filing the Lawsuit and Serving Tenants

An eviction Complaint, Summons, 6-month payment history, lease, residential eviction explanation sheet and proposed form of judgment are prepared by our Firm and filed with the corresponding court.

Once the pleadings have been filed with the court, they must be served on the tenants by a licensed process server.

3. Eviction Hearing

Every eviction case has a hearing. One of our attorneys will appear at the hearing on your behalf so you do not have to take time out of your schedule to come to one of the justice court, courthouse.

Eviction Trial– Occasionally, an eviction case will be set for trial. An eviction trial is completely different than an eviction hearing. Click HERE to read more about eviction trials.

4. Eviction Judgment

An Eviction Judgment is the goal of an eviction hearing. An Arizona eviction judgment is made up of two basic components.

Monetary Award– The monetary portion of the judgment, orders the tenants to pay the landlord all back rent, late fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Vacate the Property– The second part of the eviction judgment orders the tenants to vacate the rental property within 5 calendar days. If the Arizona tenants do not voluntarily vacate within that time, then you must file a Writ of Restitution. This writ orders the court constable to go to the rental property and remove the renters, by force if necessary.

5. Writ of Restitution

A Writ of Restitution is filed with the Court if the tenant fails to vacate the Arizona rental property within 5 calendar days of us obtaining the eviction judgment.

Filing Fee- As of 2023 the filing fee for the Writ of Restitution in the Maricopa County justice court system is $115. Also, in cases where the rental property is rural and far from the court then the constable may charge an additional travel fee.

Tenant’s Belongings– If a tenant vacates but leaves behind their belongings then the landlord must store the tenant’s belongings for 14-days.

An Arizona landlord can charge a tenant the actual cost of moving their belongings and the actual cost of storing their belongings. However, the landlord cannot hold a tenant’s belongings hostage demanding that the eviction judgment is paid until the belongings will be released. Again, if an Arizona tenant reimburses the landlord for the actual cost of moving and storing the belongings then they must be returned.

If you have additional questions about the Arizona eviction process then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the state of Arizona and New York.

Normal Wear and Tear

What is Normal Wear and Tear to a rental?

What is considered normal wear and tear to a rental property in Arizona? During a rental period, a certain amount of wear and tear is to be expected and it is reasonable that the paint on the interior walls will become dingy and that traffic wear will be shown on carpet. However, broken windows, missing window screens, holes in the walls and stained carpet are NOT considered normal wear and tear to an Arizona rental property.

A tenant shall exercise diligence to maintain the premises in as good condition as when he took possession, ordinary wear and tear excepted.

A.R.S. 33-321

If the landlord fails to comply with subsection D of this section, the tenant may recover the property and money due the tenant together with damages in an amount equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld.

A.R.S. 33-1321(E)

Normal Wear & Tear and the Security Deposit

The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act states that normal wear and tear cannot be deducted from a tenant’s refundable security deposit. Additionally, Arizona courts hold that landlords cannot deduct the cost to paint interior walls and clean carpets.

Rental property trashed
NOT normal wear and tear to a rental property

Holes in walls, large stains on the carpet, and broken appliances are considered to be in excess of normal wear and therefore a landlord can deduct the cost to repair these items from the tenant’s refundable security deposit.

If you are an Arizona landlord and need help from an Arizona real estate attorney then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the state of Arizona and New York.