An Arizona tenant who has a concern with a live-in partner or roommate should approach their landlord to request that they evict the cotenant. A tenant should not attempt to evict the cotenant themselves without involving the landlord. If the first tenant interferes with the cotenant’s right to access the apartment, that could lead to an order of protection or injunction against harassment against the first tenant.
Statutes to Evict a Tenant
A tenant can notify a landlord that a cotenant who is on the lease has not paid rent or has breached one of the material terms of the lease. These are sufficient legal grounds for eviction. The landlord can then follow the procedures outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Section 33-1368 or ARS Section 33-1337 to evict the tenant.
Noncompliance With Rental Agreement
ARS Section 33-1368 provides that when a tenant is in breach of a rental or lease agreement, the landlord may deliver a written notice to the tenant stating the acts and omissions constituting the breach. The eviction notice should provide that the rental agreement will terminate on a date not less than 10 days after receipt of the notice. This will occur if the breach is not remedied within 10 days. When a tenant withholds rent for a reason not authorized by the statute, the landlord’s notice and the period of curing is each five days.
Material Noncompliance Regarding Health
A landlord must give a renter a five-day notice and the opportunity to cure a material breach of the lease that affects health and safety. An example of a lease term that affects health and safety is a tenant that allows black mold to grow in a rental unit without removing the mold or having it removed by a professional.
When a tenant commits a material and irreparable breach of the lease, the landlord can deliver a notice of immediate termination of the lease. An example of such a breach is the discharge of a firearm on the premises. In such cases, the landlord can file a lawsuit requesting an eviction on the same day as the breach.
Special Detainer Actions
When a tenant does not pay rent or comply with the terms of the lease within the specified period, the landlord can file a special detainer action against the tenant. A special detainer means that the tenant has remained in or on the property after the landlord has given written notice that the rental agreement has been terminated and the tenant must leave the property. A landlord can file an eviction action against a tenant for nonpayment of rent, a breach of the lease or the tenant’s commission of a crime.
Detainer actions seek the eviction of the tenant and the repossession of the rental property. The actions may also be filed if the tenant misrepresented information, such as their identity, to the landlord when applying for the unit or has unauthorized occupants in the residence. In a special detainer action, the summons for the tenant in the wrong is issued the day the complaint is filed.
The summons commands the person named in the complaint to appear and answer the complaint not more than six, and no less than, three days from the date of the summons. In a special detainer action, the court determines the right to actual possession; it may also assess damages, attorney fees and costs.
Payment to Avoid Eviction
A person deemed to be a tenant can avoid eviction by paying all of the overdue rent and any late fees before the landlord files a lawsuit for eviction. If the landlord has already filed the eviction action, the tenant is required to pay all past-due monthly rent, late fees, attorney’s fees and court costs. If the tenant pays these monies before the court enters a judgment, they cannot be evicted. If the tenant pays these monies after the court enters a judgment, the landlord can decide whether to reinstate the lease.
Typical Court Hearing Procedures
When the court calls a hearing, the judge will ask the tenant if the complaint is true. If the tenant says it is false, they need to explain the reason that the complaint is false. If the reason constitutes a legal defense to eviction, the judge will take testimony from both sides and make the decision after the trial. The trial may take place on the day the case is called or later. Either side may request a continuance, which will be granted for no more than three business days.
If a landlord wins the judgment against the tenant, they may obtain a writ of restitution for repossession of the residence five days after the date of the judgment. The writ will be served by law enforcement, who will direct the tenant to leave at that time. The constable may charge for their mileage. The landlord can cut off utility services to the residence after winning the judgment, but cannot dispose of or sell the tenant’s personal property for 14 days.
Fees for Eviction Action
There are many fees for an eviction action under Arizona state law, including the $63 fee for the complaint and the $115 writ of restitution. If a tenant wishes to appeal the court’s decision, there is an $84 notice of appeal filing fee. To appeal the ruling, the tenant must file a notice of appeal and a designation of record within five days of the judgment.
They must also post a supersedeas bond of $250 or an affidavit in lieu of that bond. For the appellate court to consider the eviction case, the tenant files the supersedeas bond with the court for the amount of money it owes the landlord.
Landlord Can Evict a Guest
A landlord has recourse to evict a person who is a guest of a tenant and who is not named on a written lease. When the individual knowingly remains on the premises without the permission of the tenant or the landlord, they are not a lawful tenant. That person’s presence on the premises does not constitute residency or tenancy. In such a case, the eviction process does not have to involve the court; the landlord or the tenant may contact a law enforcement officer to remove the unwanted occupant.
When Money Changes Hands
When a landlord accepts money from a guest, that makes it harder for the landlord to say that the guest is not a tenant. This is true even if the guest is not named on the lease. In addition, if the landlord gives written or verbal permission to the guest to stay at the property, it is more likely that the guest will be considered a tenant. A landlord can limit the amount of time a guest can stay on the property, such as two weeks. This allowance of a specific time for a guest to stay makes it less likely that a nonpaying guest will be considered a tenant.
Orders of Protection
Sometimes a situation with an unwanted guest involves domestic violence. Domestic violence can occur between people residing or having resided in the same household. Domestic violence can also occur between romantic partners and individuals who have a child together.
When a guest engages in domestic violence, the tenant can file an order of protection or injunction against them. Then a judge can order the defendant not to have personal contact with the tenant. The judge can also order the defendant to refrain from contacting the tenant at their residence. A judge’s order can accompany a landlord’s actions regarding the eviction.
Criminal Damage of Property
A tenant who wants to have a guest or a cotenant evicted should avoid handling the individual’s property. If any of the property is damaged in the process of evicting, the individual leaving the premises could press charges for criminal damage. Criminal damage can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property.
- Maricopa County Justice Courts: Eviction Actions (Landlord/Tenant)
- Arizona Revised Statutes: Section 33-1377 Special Detainer Actions
- Arizona Revised Statutes: Section 13-1602 Criminal Damage
- Maricopa County Superior Court: Protective Orders
- Arizona Revised Statutes: Section 33-1368 Noncompliance With Rental Agreement by Tenant
- Arizona Revised Statutes: Section 33-1378 Removal of a Guest
- Arizona Revised Statutes: Section 13-3601 Domestic Violence
- Arizona Judicial Branch: After an Eviction Judgment
- Eviction is a complicated process, and it gets even more complicated when dealing with a live-in partner. You may wish to get a lawyer to handle this emotionally charged situation.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.