In Arizona, a tenant can be evicted from a home for violating the lease or rental agreement. Here is a summary of the eviction procedure when a tenant commits a “material and irreparable” violation of the rental agreement, i.e. a serious violation of the agreement that the tenant cannot fix.
What Is A Material And Irreparable Violation Of A Rental Agreement?
A material and irreparable breach of lease agreement is defined in part by ARS 13-1368. Such violations include the following:
(1) illegal discharge of a weapon,
(4) gang activity,
(5) the unlawful manufacturing, selling, transferring, possessing, using or storing of a controlled substance,
(6) threats or intimidation,
(9) other breaches of the lease agreement that jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of the landlord, the landlord’s agent or another tenant,
(10) other breaches of the rental agreement involving imminent or actual serious property damage,
(11) Material falsification of a tenant’s criminal records, prior eviction record or current criminal activity
The relevant statute specifies that this list is not meant to be exhaustive of the circumstances constituting material and irreparable violations of a rental agreement, leaving room to argue that other situations may fall into this category.
What Type Of Notice Is Required?
Before a landlord can go to court to file an eviction Complaint against the tenant (see below), the landlord must give the tenant a written Notice.
Notably, if the breach qualifies as a material and irreparable breach of the rental agreement, the Notice does not need to be any particular length. The landlord can file and serve the eviction action the same day the tenant receives the notice of immediate termination.
For material and irreparable breaches of the rental agreement, the Notice must describe exactly how, where, and when violation occurred. The Notice must also include a statement informing the tenant that the landlord plans to file an eviction Complaint against the tenant immediately. A.R.S. § 33-1368(A).. This Notice is not an official document from the court and does not need to be signed by a Judge or notarized.
Can I Immediately Evict the Tenant Based On A Material and Irreparable Breach of the Rental Agreement?
No, you cannot. You must instead proceed to the next step by filing an unlawful detainer action against the tenant. This is an official court proceeding requesting a court order restoring possession of the premises back to the landlord.
Once the complaint has been filed, the Summons is issued and must be promptly served by the constable or a private process server. The Summons and Complaint must be delivered to the tenant at least 2 days before the hearing scheduled by the court at the time the Summons is issued.
If the Summons and Complaint are not delivered to the tenant at least 2 days before the date of the court hearing, the court may (but is not required to) dismiss the landlord’s Complaint. The Summons will provide the tenant with the date, time, and location of the hearing. R.P.E.A. Rule 5(a). The date of the court hearing will be no more than 3 days after the date the Summons is issued by the court. A.R.S. § 33-1377(B). Accordingly, the process moves very rapidly when the breach at issue qualifies as a material and irreparable violation of the rental agreement.
If Judgment is granted in favor of Plaintiff, the tenant has not less than 12 hours or more than 24 hours to leave the premises. A judgment, however, does not by itself allow the landlord to take possession. He or she cannot, at this time, do anything to the property, including (by state law) forcibly removing the tenant. Instead, a Writ of Restitution must be obtained from the Court at the time the Judgment is issued. The Writ must be served on the tenant by a constable or sheriff (state law mandates this). Until this happens, a landlord or property manager cannot legally change the locks to the property.
Please contact Lynx Legal Service with any questions on the above or if you are ready to start a case. We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or email@example.com. Our experienced professionals are standing by to answer any inquiries you may have.