Can You Evict a Tenant With No Lease in Arizona?

By Karina C. Hernandez - Updated June 17, 2017
Rental agreement

A landlord who allows a tenant to live in an Arizona property without a written lease agreement can evict a tenant by adhering to the state's landlord-tenant laws. These laws outline tenants rights and notice requirements when asking a tenant to vacate. Known as tenants at will, tenants without leases are bound to the same landlord-tenant laws as tenants with leases. As the landlord, you must follow Arizona eviction laws to remove a tenant from your property.

When Tenants Have No Lease

A legal tenancy results when you allow a tenant to remain in a rental property after a lease expires. For example, the typical one-year written lease that you have with a tenant likely specifies that your rental agreement automatically converts to a month-to-month tenancy if the tenant chooses to stay past the one-year mark. If the written lease expired and the tenant remained, you have a tenant at will. Also, a written agreement that doesn't specify an end or expiration date is considered a tenancy at will.

A tenant without a lease also occurs when you allow someone to live in your property in exchange for rent payments, but there is no written rental agreement. Making an oral agreement and accepting money in exchange for housing creates a tenancy at will.

When You Can Evict a Tenant

When a tenant has no lease in Arizona, you can end the tenancy without providing the tenant with a reason, but you must give them written notice and a minimum amount of time to leave. You must provide at least 30 days' notice to a month-to-month tenant, and 10 days' notice to a week-to-week tenant. If a tenant fails to pay rent, you must provide five days' notice. You can evict a tenant immediately for certain violations, such as drug activity or violence – Arizona requires only a 24-hour notice to vacate for serious offenses such as these. An eviction can begin once a tenant fails to leave the premises within the required time provided in the notice and required by law.

Reasons for Eviction

Arizona evictions are called special detainer actions. They are known as forcible detainer actions if the tenant stays in the property without permission after a lease ends. Reasons for a special detainer action include:

  • nonpayment of rent
  • material noncompliance, such as parking in unauthorized spaces or allowing a nonpermitted pet or person to live in the property
  • failing to maintain the rental property
  • material and irreparable breach, such as purposely damaging the dwelling or conducting illegal activity
  • tenant hold-over, such as when the tenant stays in the rental after the lease ends without permission.

You can download eviction forms or submit forms to the court online when evicting a tenant without a lease. You can also access landlord resources from government websites such as AZcourts.gov and the Arizona Department of Housing.

About the Author

Karina C. Hernandez is a licensed real estate agent since 2004 in San Diego. She has written legal articles pertaining to housing and real estate for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA.

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