A landlord can evict a tenant in Arizona for violating any part of the lease or rental agreement--for example, by subletting an apartment when subletting is not permitted, having a dog when no pets are allowed, or lying on the rental application.
This article will explain how to evict a tenant for violating the lease or rental agreement, according to the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Time Frame for Eviction Notices for Lease Violations in Arizona
As soon as the landlord discovers that the tenant has violated any portion of the lease, the landlord can send the tenant a notice that gives the tenant ten days to fix the violation, if possible. The ten-day time frame begins when the tenant receives the notice, and it includes weekends and holidays. If the tenant does not fix the violation within the ten-days, then the landlord terminate the lease agreement and file a lawsuit with the court to evict the tenant. This lawsuit is also called a special detainer action (see Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1368(A)).
Information Included in the Arizona Eviction Notice for Lease Violations
The eviction notice for lease violations must be written and should include the following information:
- date the notice was served on the tenant(s)
- name(s) and address of tenant(s) rental unit
- the reason for the notice (that the tenant violated a specific portion of the lease violation)
- a statement that the tenant has ten days to fix the violation (the notice should specify the exact date by which this must happen) or the landlord will begin eviction proceedings, and
- a statement specifying how the notice was given to the tenant.
A sample Arizona eviction notice can be found at the Maricopa County Justice Court website.
Serving the Eviction Notice
In Arizona, a landlord has two options for giving serving eviction notice to the tenant: (1) personally give the notice to the tenant, or (2) mail a copy of the notice to the tenant through registered or certified mail; it is always best practice to request a return receipt if using this option.
A landlord who does not serve the notice properly will have to give the notice to the tenant again, following the proper procedures. The ten-day time period will not begin until the tenant receives the notice in the proper manner.
Tenant Options After Receiving an Eviction Notice in Arizona
A tenant's responses to an eviction notice including the following:
- Fix the violation during the ten-day time period. If the tenant fixes the violation within the ten-day time period, the landlord must not proceed with the eviction. If the tenant violates the lease again in the future, the landlord must repeat the entire eviction process.
- Move out of the rental unit. If the tenant moves out of the rental unit without fixing the violation, the landlord can use the tenant's security deposit, if possible, to pay for any damages. If the security deposit does not cover all the damages, the landlord can sue the tenant for any damages still remaining.
- Do nothing. If the tenant does not fix the violation and does not move out of the apartment, then the landlord can file a lawsuit, also called a special detainer action, with the court to begin the eviction process.
Filing an Eviction Lawsuit in Arizona
If the tenant does not fix the lease violation or move out of the rental unit within ten days after receiving the eviction notice, the landlord can then file a complaint and summons with the courthouse in the county where the rental unit is located. The landlord must successfully win the eviction lawsuit before the tenant can actually be evicted.
A sample Arizona complaint and summons for a special detainer action can be found at the Maricopa County Justice Court website.
It is illegal in Arizona for a landlord to use any "self-help" procedures to try to force a tenant out of a rental unit--for example, by changing the locks or shutting off the utilities to the rental unit (see Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1367). The landlord's only option is to go through the court system, and the landlord must carefully follow all the procedures when filing the eviction lawsuit.
Additional Information on Evictions and Arizona Landlord-Tenant Laws
AZLawHelp.org, an Arizona legal aid service, publishes useful information on evictions for both landlords and tenants. The Maricopa County Justice Court also has useful information about evictions in Arizona on its website.
The Nolo website also has many articles on landlord-tenant relations in Arizona, including illegal eviction procedures in Arizona and tenant defenses to evictions in Arizona. The Arizona charts in the State Landlord-Tenant Laws section of the Nolo website also has useful information. For more eviction articles, see the Evicting a Tenant or Ending a Lease section of the Nolo site.