Familiarize yourself with tenant law in Arizona. As a renter or landlord, it is always wise to be familiar with, at the least, the basics of landlord/tenant law in your state prior to any possibility of eviction. If you have a basic understanding of your rights as a tenant when the prospect of eviction becomes a reality, you will be better able to stay calm and think carefully through your options. Luckily, if you are one of the many renters that does not have a firm grasp on your rights as a tenant when the time comes to consider eviction, there are many resources available to you that will help you quickly understand tenant law in Arizona.
The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is the regulatory authority for the eviction process in Arizona. When evicting a tenant, the landlord must carefully follow this act, but there are a few reasons for which a landlord can lawfully evict a tenant. It is in the interest of the tenant to be familiar with these reasons, as the reasons may also contain a remedy to eviction, or they may contain avenues to remain on the property long enough to resolve whatever issues are causing the situation. The three types of grounds for eviction are:
Violation of Lease or Rental Agreement
A landlord may evict a tenant based on a violation of the rental agreement. This may be from unauthorized guests or pets or from providing invalid information on the agreement. In any instance, the landlord is required to present the tenant with a written notice specifying the violation. Once notice is presented, the tenant then has ten days to fix the matter.
Failure to Maintain Rental Property
A landlord can also evict a tenant for failure to keep the rental up to a safe and healthy standard. For instance, if a tenant fails to dispose of garbage or willfully destroys property, the landlord may have legal grounds to evict. If that is the case, the landlord again must provide written notice. This notice allows for five days in which the tenant can fix the problem, if possible.
Failure to Pay Rent in Full
One of the most common reasons for eviction is a tenant’s failure to timely pay the rent in full. As always, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant. For nonpayment of rent, the notice must specify that the tenant has five days to pay the rent due. It is important to note that if the landlord agrees to partial payment, the tenant cannot be evicted for nonpayment of the remaining rent due unless the tenant has given written consent of the terms and agreements of the partial payment in regard to the continuation of tenancy
As an Arizona resident, you can also call the Landlord/Tenant message line at (602) 262-7210 to speak to a counselor. In addition, the City of Phoenix Counseling Office holds monthly workshops on the third Thursday of each month. Remember that being informed and knowing your options is your first and best chance to evade eviction. To make a reservation you can call (602) 256-3517.
As much as you can, if you fear eviction may be on the horizon, document everything. That means to take pictures, keep copies of all written communication with your landlord, and consider everything as potential evidence should it come to that. This documentation may end up saving you from eviction.
Communicate With Your Landlord
It is important to remember that landlords are people too; most people are understanding of the challenges we encounter from time to time. It can sometimes be as simple as talking to your landlord about whatever issues have made continuing your tenancy problematic. Keeping an open line of communication with your landlord throughout difficulties may afford you the time needed to get back on your feet, as landlords ultimately want you to pay your rent and otherwise maintain your tenancy as much as you do (it is usually a loss of income to evict due to lapse in rent).
If you find yourself in a situation where you and your landlord cannot come to an agreement on your own, it may be beneficial to pursue mediation. Mediation is often preferred over litigation, which can be a lengthy and costly process. Look for a neutral third-party mediator that offers services in your area. Many local communities offer free or low-cost mediation for these types of disputes. You can check out what local resources are available to you at mediate.com or through the American Arbitration Association.
If nothing else has worked or you feel you have a strong case, you may want to consider litigation. Often lawyers will offer a free or low-cost initial consultation or, if you just cannot afford an attorney, there may also be legal aid available to you. Arizona has three legal aid organizations:
Community Legal Services (800) 852-9075
Southern Arizona Legal Aid (800) 640-9465
DNA People’s Legal Services (800) 789-7287
Eviction is scary, but it is something that anyone could have to face. In order to be prepared if the time comes, remember to inform yourself, document, communicate with your landlord, and use the resources available to you. If you can remain calm, you may be able to evade eviction.