Arizona Eviction Process

Steps to an Eviction in Arizona

  1. Notice to Tenant
    • Written notice must be sent to the tenant at the begin of each eviction.
    • Timing of the Notice to the Arizona tenant.
  2. Filing the Eviction Lawsuit
  3. Eviction Hearing
    • Every eviction case has an in-person hearing. We appear at the hearing on your behalf so you do not have to take time out of your schedule to come to the justice court, courthouse. The property owner does not have to attend the hearing and rarely do.
    • Eviction Trial– Occasionally, an eviction case will be set for trial. An eviction trial is completely different than an eviction hearing.
  4. Eviction Judgment
    • An Eviction Judgment is the goal of the eviction hearing. The Eviction Judgment is made up of two basic components.
      • 1) Monetary award- This portion of the judgment orders the tenant to pay the landlord all back rent, late fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
      • 2) 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 we must file a Writ of Restitution. This orders a 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 rental property within 5 calendar days of us obtaining the eviction judgment.
      • The Writ of Restitution is filed with the clerk of court and requires an additional filing fee. As of 2020 the filing fee for the Writ of Restitution in the justice court system is $115.
    • Tenant’s Belongings– If a tenant vacates your rental property but leaves behind their belongings then you must store their 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, a landlord cannot withhold a tenant’s belongings until they pay the judgment.

Gov. Ducey: Some Evictions

Governor Ducey Extends COVID-19 Eviction Protection until October 31, 2020

Governor Doug Ducey today signed an Executive Order extending a moratorium on residential evictions until October 31, 2020, providing continued protections for renters who are facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. The order ensures renters impacted by COVID-19 will be able to stay in their homes while extending the time to access rental assistance programs.

not granted to all arizona tenants

Governor Ducey’s executive order protects Arizona tenant from eviction if they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. For example, they’ve been laid-off, had their hours reduced, actually had COVID-19 or someone else in the house has. The executive order comes into play after the entire eviction process is complete and a writ of restitution is filed to remove the tenants. If the constable goes to the property to remove the tenants but decides that they are protected under the Governor’s exemption.

motion to compel enforcement

If the constable won’t remove the tenants from your property then we have to file a Motion to Compel. With this motion we are asking the judge to order the tenants removed. A special hearing will be set. At this hearing, tenants can provide evidence and testimony showing that they fall under Ducey’s exemption and they should stay in the house. We will then be given the opportunity to explain why they are not exempted and should be removed. If the judge rules in our favor the constable will remove the tenants. However, if the judge rules in their favor they can’t be removed until the executive order expires, October 31, 2020

If you are wondering how Governor Ducey’s Executive Order is impacting your landlord – tenant situation then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or message us HERE.

What is Writ of Restitution

If an Arizona tenant remains in a rental property for more than 5 calendar days from the day an eviction judgment was signed then, an Arizona landlord can file a Writ of Restitution to have them removed. Once the judge has signed the Writ of Restitution then it is sent to a Constable for enforcement (think Sheriff) to remove the tenants from your property. A Constable works for the court and has similar powers and duties to sheriffs.  A Writ can only be filed after an eviction hearing was held and a judgment entered in favor of the landlord.

If the Arizona tenant does not leave voluntarily then a Writ of Restitution can be filed with the court. Once the Writ of Restitution is filed with the court, it is first signed by the judge and then delivered to the Constable for execution. The Constable will then visit the property and physically remove the tenant(s) from the property. Upon arriving at the property, a Constable will give the tenants about 60 minutes to pack a bag and leave the property.

When Will the Constable Execute a Writ of Restitution?

So you’ve filed a Writ of Restitution and want to know when the Constable will actually appear and evict your tenants? The time frame can vary wildly. When the Writ of Restitution is initially filed with the court the filing clerk must take the paperwork to the judge for his/her signature. On occasion, the paperwork will immediately be signed and handed off to the constable. Other times, the Writ of Restitution may sit on the judges desk for a few days before being signed. Once the writ has been signed it is then delivered to the Constable’s office.

Most justice courts in Arizona only have one Constable. So if the Constable gets a large influx of Writs at the same time yours may be delayed. So all-in-all it can take approximately 5 to 7 days for the Constable to actually show up to the property. What if the tenants left behind their belongings? Well, you must maintain there belongings for 14 days from the date the Writ was executed (day the Constable went to the property). Click HERE to learn more about the 14 day process.

If you would like to know more about Writ of Restitution or have questions about an eviction, please contact the Dunaway Law Group by phone at 480-389-6529 or by messaging us HERE.

Evicted Tenants’ Belongings

Often Arizona tenants will leave personal property on the premises after they have been evicted. As a landlord you cannot simply keep or throw away the former tenant’s belongings. The Arizona Landlord-Tenant Act requires the landlord to you maintain their possessions for at least 14 days.

Per A.R.S. § 33-1368(E) a landlord, must hold the evicted tenant’s possessions for a minimum of 14 days from the day the Writ of Restitution was executed (day the constable removed the tenants) issued. 

As the landlord, you may;

  • Keep the tenant’s belongings that the rental property for the 14 days,
  • Move the tenant’s belongings to an off-site storage facility,
  • Require the tenant to reimburse you for the actual cost of moving and storing their belongings during the 14 day period,
  • Prohibit the tenants from ever returning to the property without your explicit permission.

As a landlord you may NOT;

  • Require the tenant pay for eviction judgment prior to releasing the belongings to them. Meaning you cannot require a tenant pay you for all back rent, late fees, attorneys’ fees, and court costs prior to returning their belongings. Again, an Arizona landlord may only demand payment for the actual cost of storing and moving the tenants’ belongings.
  • Dispose of the tenant’s property prior to the expiration of the 14 days.  

catalogue their belongings

If you do choose to remove the tenant’s belongings from the rental property use considerable care, you will be responsible for any damage to their belongings. It is a good idea to photograph, or video the premises, so that you have an inventory of what was left behind. Make sure the date can be verified through the images and video. This will also give you the opportunity to catalog any damage to the rental unit itself. Take the inventory prior to moving any of the personal property from the rental unit.

After the 14 day period, if there has been no contact from the evicted party, and they have not claimed, or made and agreement to claim their property, a landlord may sell the items or dispose of the items that were left behind.

If you need help from an Arizona real estate attorney then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-389-6529 or HERE.