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Evicted in Arizona?

The early termination of a rental agreement in Arizona; how and why.

Nobody wants to get removed from their home unwillingly, but things happen. It is called an eviction and it’s not the end of the world. So don’t go jumping off the edge if you’re in the middle of one. Evictions, unfortunately are one of those more common than desired problems that you could run into in your adult life. The goal of this article is to inform you of the eviction process in Phoenix Arizona; the laws in place, what it typically looks like, and the aftermath of an eviction.

You can read in detail about the laws that govern the relationship of landlords and their tenants via the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act here. We’ll share a few important laws to know regarding the early termination of a rental agreement below.

Eviction Laws Arizona

Tenants, or renters, are obligated to maintain the residential unit. This means you have to obide by building codes, keep the unit clean and safe, use the facilities and appliances in a ‘reasonable’ manner, conduct themselves and their guest in a manner that does not disturb their neighbors enjoyment of the premises, and to notify the landlord in writing when maintenance is required.

Tenants are obligated to follow the rules and regulations set by the landlord regarding the tenants use and occupancy of the residential property. These rules and regulations are enforceable, if the tenant is made aware at the time of the rental agreement or is given 3 days notice, the rules apply to all tenants, and the purpose of the rules are to promote convenience or safety of the tenants.

Tenants are obligated to provide access to the landlord for emergencies, inspection of premises, necessary or agreed repairs, and necessary or agreed services. Tenant cannot unreasonably deny access. Submission of maintenance request is considered consent.

Landlords are given a number of remedies to deal with tenants, who are non compliant to their rental agreements. The most common being early termination of a rental agreement, also known as, eviction. Tenants, who are non compliant of their rental agreement, include tenants, who falsify information submitted in the rental application. Information such as number of occupants, pets, income, employment, and criminal record. The landlord may provide the tenant written notice specifying the breach of contract or noncompliance and also provide 10 day notice of termination of said contract. The tenant from that point has 10 days to ‘fix’ the breach of contract and reverse the early termination.

If a tenant is withholding rent without an authorized reason, within 5 days of written notice of late rent, the landlord can choose to terminate the rental agreement by filing a special detainer action. The tenant then has 5 days to pay the balance owed in effort to save the rental agreement from early termination. If the judgement of said special detainer is filed in favor of the landlord, any reinstatement of the rental agreement is left at the discretion of the landlord.

The landlord can also ‘sue’ tenants for all reasonable damages associated with the above grievances.

What Does Eviction Look Like?

Let’s use the late rent or non payment of rent as our reason behind this example eviction. Many apartments in the Phoenix area provide you with a rental grace period the may extend to the 3rd day of the month. What this means is, you’re not considered as late when making a payment until the 4th day.

That being said, the first day you’re considered to be ‘late’ on your rent, as the tenant, the landlord has the right to provide you with a 5 day written notice. This written notice would mention your breach of contract and their plan as the payment collector should you decide not to pay you balance in full within that 5 day time frame.

After the 5 days is up, the landlord has the right to file a writ of restitution, which allows law enforcement to evict you. Any time between the date when the writ is filed and the date the judgement is found in favor of the landlord, you as the tenant, can still pay the balance plus and keep the rental agreement active. You will also owe the landlord’s court costs and attorney fees. Once law enforcement get the go ahead, they can come and remove you and your property from the premises.

It can go just like that, if you don’t take any action to fix the balance.

Should you decide to give some effort to pay off the overdue balance or fight the allegations in court, the process can go differently. Once the writ is filed by the landlord, you should receive a court summons that gives you the opportunity to plead you case. In Arizona it can come by certified mail, where a signature is required for proof of receipt. Since, it’s usually anytime after that court day that law enforcement can come and remove you from the property, you’d have that time to either fix the issues and restore the rental agreement or make other arrangements.

If the writ goes through, there will be an eviction listed in your rental history and this will negatively impact your ability to rent again. It gives you a bad reputation as a tenant to other landlords. People may still be willing to rent to you, if you’re willing to pay a higher deposit or settle on less desirable areas.

This eviction is also bad news for your credit history. If you are unable to pay the balance, that balance plus court and attorney fees are slapped on you credit as unpaid balances. To lenders, you begin to look like an unreliable borrower.

Until the balance is resolved, you can expect to get some harassment from collection agencies looking to collect. If the bad credit and bad rental history is something you can live with until the end of the year or beginning or the upcoming year, there’s a chance they’d be willing to settle for a lessor balance.

Conclusion

An eviction is a tough process, but it’s something that happens more often than not. Arizona has laws in place to protect the landlord and the tenant in a rental agreement. There are only so many things that can cause an eviction or the early termination of a rental agreement. As a tenant, you’re protected from unauthorized actions by a landlord and vice versa for the landlord with the tenant. If an eviction happens, it’s not the end of the world it’s more like a derogatory mark on your personal record.


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