The Eviction Process in Arizona: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Arizona eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

In Arizona, a landlord can evict a tenant for a number of reasons, including not paying rent, violating the lease or rental unit, or committing a crime. The landlord must follow specific rules and procedures when evicting the tenant, and the first step in the eviction (also called a special detainer action) is terminating the lease or rental agreement. Before terminating the lease or rental agreement, the landlord typically must give the tenant notice. The type of notice required will depend on the reason for the eviction.

This article will explain the rules and procedures a landlord or property manager must take when evicting a tenant in Arizona.

Notice for Termination With Cause

For a landlord to evict a tenant early (that is, before the lease or rental agreement has ended), the landlord must have legal cause. The most common legal causes of eviction are the tenant's failure to pay rent, or violation of the lease or rental agreement. But the landlord can also evict the tenant who commits a crime on the premises of the rental unit. The first step in the eviction process is to give the tenant notice.

  • Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent: If the tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, the landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to pay rent. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has five days to pay rent or the landlord will terminate the rental agreement. If the tenant does not pay rent within five days of receiving the notice, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see ARS § 33-1368(B)). Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Arizona has more information.
  • Five-Day Notice to Cure: If the tenant fails to maintain the rental unit and that lack of maintenance affects the health and safety of the tenant or other tenants on the premises, then the landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to cure. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has five days to perform the maintenance on the rental unit or the landlord will terminate the rental agreement. For a full list of the tenant’s responsibilities in regard to maintaining the rental unit, see ARS § 33-1341. If the tenant does not make the necessary repairs or maintenance by the end of five days, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court (see ARS § 33-1368(A)).
  • Ten-Day Notice to Cure: If the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement, then the landlord can give the tenant a ten-day notice to cure. It is important to note that lease or rental agreement violations include providing false information in the application. The notice the landlord gives the tenant must inform the tenant that the tenant has ten days to fix the violation or the landlord will terminate the lease or rental agreement. If the tenant does not fix the violation in ten days, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see ARS § 33-1368(A)).
  • Unconditional Quit Notice: In some instances, the landlord can give the tenant an unconditional quit notice. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the lease or rental agreement immediately, with no opportunity for the tenant to remedy the situation. The landlord can then immediately go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Because the unconditional quit notice is immediate and the tenant cannot correct the situation, it can only be used in the following situations:
    • discharging a weapon
    • homicide
    • prostitution
    • criminal street gang activity
    • use or sale of illegal drugs, or
    • assaults or acts that threaten harm to others.

See ARS 33-1368.

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord does not have cause to terminate a tenancy early, then the landlord cannot expect a tenant to move until the end of the term of the lease or rental agreement. In some cases, the landlord will still need to provide the tenant with notice that the tenancy is ending.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

For a landlord to end a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord must give a tenant a 30-day notice. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenancy will be ending in 30 days and the tenant must move out of the rental unit by then. If the tenant does not move in 30 days, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see ARS § 33-1375). Arizona Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has more information.

Fixed-Term Lease

If a tenant has a fixed-term lease, such as for six months or one year, then the landlord must wait until the lease term has expired before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord does not need to provide the tenant with notice unless the lease specifically requires it. Otherwise, the landlord can expect the tenant to move by the end of the tenancy.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even though a landlord may have a valid legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant may still choose to fight the eviction. The tenant may have a valid defense against the eviction, such as the landlord retaliating against the tenant or the landlord failing to maintain the premises. If the tenant fights the eviction, it could increase the amount of time the tenant can stay in the rental unit and increase the cost of the eviction lawsuit. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Arizonahas more information.

Removal of the Tenant

The only way a tenant can be removed from a rental unit is if the landlord wins an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Even then, the only person authorized to remove the tenant is a law enforcement officer. The landlord must never try to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit. In fact, Arizona law has made this illegal. Illegal Eviction Procedures in Arizona has more information on this topic.

After an eviction occurs, the landlord may find that the tenant has left personal property in the rental unit. The landlord cannot just dispose of the property. The landlord must notify the tenant in writing that the tenant has 21 days to claim the property. If the tenant does not claim the property in 21 days, then the landlord can dispose of or sell the property. The landlord can charge the tenant reasonable fees for storage of the property. If the landlord sells the property, the landlord can use the proceeds to cover the fees the tenant owes to the landlord. If there are extra proceeds, then the landlord must give the money to the tenant (see ARS § 33-1368). Handling a Tenant’s Property in Arizona: Eviction Lockouts has more information on this topic.

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Arizona law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.

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