Arizona Eviction Process

Arizona Eviction Process

Last Updated: August 14, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

In Arizona, all evictions follow the same process:

  1. Landlord serves tenant written notice.
  2. Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
  3. Court serves tenant with Summons & Complaint.
  4. Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
  5. Sheriff serves tenant with Writ of Restitution.
  6. Sheriff returns possession of property to landlord.

From start to finish, an eviction in Arizona can be completed in one to six weeks. However, it can take longer depending on the reason and whether the tenant contests it.

Questions? To chat with an Arizona eviction attorney, click here

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Grounds for an Eviction in Arizona

In Arizona, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms, material health or safety violations, or not upholding responsibilities under Arizona law. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent 3 Days Yes
End of / No Lease ~15 Days No
Lease Violation 7 Days Maybe

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Arizona, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first provide a  5-Day Notice to Pay or vacate the premises. If the tenant does neither after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Rent is due on the date set forth in the lease and is considered late the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e. five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays.

Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Arizona, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (30 days for tenants that pay month-to-month).

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In Arizona, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Arizona landlord tenant law. Some (but not all) violations allow the tenant to fix (“cure”) the issue to avoid removal. Regardless of the issue, the landlord must give 10 days notice before proceeding.

Curable Violations

For more minor offenses, the tenant can remain at the property if they fix the issue within the 10 day notice period. Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.

Incurable Violations

For more serious (or repeated) offenses, the tenant isn’t given the opportunity to fix the issue and remain at the property. For incurable violations, a tenant must vacate the premises within the 7 day period or the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit. Examples of incurable violations include:

  • Excessive damage, destruction, or misuse of the property.
  • False or misleading information on the rental application.

In Arizona putting false or misleading information on the rental application about is also an incurable violation.  Some examples of false or misleading information is misrepresenting:

  • Tenant’s income;
  • The number people living in the rental unit;
  • Tenant’s social security number;
  • Tenant’s current employer/employment status;
  • Tenant’s criminal history/current criminal activity; or
  • Tenant’s prior eviction history.

False or misleading information related to eviction history, criminal history and current criminal activity cannot be corrected by the tenant in order to avoid eviction.

Illegal Activity

If a tenant has engages in illegal behavior within the property, the landlord must issue an official written Notice to Vacate. However, the number of days a landlord gives a tenant to vacate is up to them.

In Arizona, illegal activity includes:

  • Illegal discharge of a weapon
  • Homicide
  • Prostitution
  • Assault
  • Criminal street gang activity
  • Threats/intimidation
  • Creating/causing a nuisance
  • Manufacturing, selling, transferring, possessing, using or storing a controlled substance
  • Endangering the health/welfare/safety of the landlord/landlord’s agent/another tenant
  • Causing seriousproperty damage

Illegal Evictions in Arizona

In Arizona, either of the below actions by a landlord are illegal. If proven in court, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant damages and legal fees.

“Self Help” Evictions

No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks.
  • Shutting off utilities.
  • Removing tenant belongings.

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

  • Complaining to the landlord about an issue with the property;
  • Contacting a local or government agency about an issue with the property;
  • Joining, supporting or organizing a tenant union or organization;
  • Pursuing legal action against the landlord; or
  • Withholding rent for a legally acceptable reason.

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Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

A landlord can begin the eviction process in Arizona by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:

  1. Hand delivering the notice to the tenant.
  2. Mailing a copy of the notice via regular mail, certified mail or registered mail.
  3. Leaving the notice in a conspicuous place (i.e. on the front door).

It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice. 

5-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Arizona, the landlord can serve them a 5-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. This notice gives the tenant 5 days (not counting weekends or holidays) to pay the entire remaining balance or vacate the premises.

5-Day Notice to Comply

The landlord must issue a 5-Day Notice to Comply if a tenant violates health, building, safety, and housing codes. This notice allows a tenant 5 days to fix the problem.

Violations under this could include:

  • Not throwing out the trash for long periods of time;
  • Damaging the electrical wiring of a unit; or
  • Ruining the plumbing fixtures of a unit. 

The tenant has not fixed the problem by the end of the 5 days the landlord may continue with the eviction process.

30-Day Notice to Quit

For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Arizona, the landlord must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 30 calendar days to move out (or the next business day if the final day lands on a weekend or legal holiday).

However, for tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs:

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Amount
Week-to-Week 10 Days
Month-to-Month 30 Days
Quarter-to-Quarter No Statute
Year-to-Year No Statute

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Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

If the notice period ends and the tenant remains on the property, the Landlord must next file a complaint in the court of the proper county. The most convenient way to file a case is by using the Arizona Courts’ e-Filing Portal.

The complaint should include the following information:

  • The landlord and tenant names;
  • The rental property address, including the county;
  • The grounds for eviction (i.e., nonpayment of rent, lease violation, etc.); and
  • When notice was served.

After being notarized by the county clerk, the summons and complaint are forwarded to a process server or county sheriff to serve each named tenant. Certain fees may apply for the service of the summons and complaint.

The number of copies and which documents you need to provide varies based on the claims and number of tenants in your suit. To be certain always call the local Clerk’s Office.  Arizona Courts provide instructions on what to file and how many copies of each document to bring when filing.

In most counties, filing fees cost around $73. Information regarding filing fees can be found on the Arizona Court’s website. 

Clock   on 2 days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant at least two days prior to the eviction hearing.

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Step 3: Court Serves Tenant with Summons & Complaint

Once the process server or sheriff has served the tenant, the tenant may choose to answer or contest the complaint, but the tenant is not required to file an answer.

The landlord must serve the tenant at least 2 days before the eviction hearing.  If this is not enough time for the tenant to prepare, either the landlord or the tenant can request a  3 or 5 day continuance. 

If the tenant contests the eviction, the process may take longer or include additional steps. To contest the eviction the tenant must have a legal defense, or a valid reason why the landlord should not evict them.  The tenant must also serve the landlord with the response containing the defenses.

A valid legal defense may include the following situations:

  •  The landlord executed a “self help” eviction prior to finalizing the proper legal proceedings;
  • The tenant resolved a curable violation;
  • The landlord discriminated against the tenant;
  • The landlord evicted the tenant in a retaliatory manner;
  • The tenant did not violate the terms of the lease;
  • The landlord failed to properly maintain the rental unit as required by state and federal law; or
  • The notice or complaint contained substantial errors, such as omitting the effective date of eviction.

A court may dismiss the eviction lawsuit if it finds any of the above defenses to be true, aside from errors in the legal documents.  If the notice or complaint contained substantial errors, the landlord must fix the errors and restart the eviction process.

If the tenant does not choose to contest the eviction, the process will proceed via the steps below.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.comThree to six days, depending on whether the eviction is for illegal activity or another type of eviction. If tenants or landlords request a continuance or jury trial, the process can take longer.

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Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment

To prepare for the hearing the landlord and tenant should bring the following:

  • A copy of the lease agreement;
  • The notice to quit or to pay;
  • The complaint; and
  • Any evidence (i.e., photos of damage, billing statements, etc.) or witnesses to help prove the case in court.

Regardless if the eviction was contested or not, if the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a Writ of Restituion will be subsequently issued and the process will proceed.

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant has 5 days to appeal the ruling. But if the eviction is for illegal activity, then the tenant only has 24 hours to appeal the ruling.

Clock   on 12 hours to 5 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.

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Step 5: Sheriff Posts Writ of Restitution

In Arizona, a Writ of Restitution is a court order served to a tenant by a sheriff that gives the tenant a final 12 hours to 5 days to move out before being forcibly removed/ The order is issued in response to a ruling made in favor of a landlord in an eviction case.

Given that the tenant does not appeal, a Writ of Restitutionis issued no less than 12 to 24 hours after the landlord wins the case if the eviction was about illegal activity.  For any other reasons for eviction the Writ of Restitution is issued no earlier than 5 days after judgment was issued

Clock   on Immediately. Once the sheriff/constable receives the writ, they may execute it immediately, meaning the tenant would need to move as soon as the writ is delivered/posted.

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Step 6: Sheriff Returns Property to Landlord

The writ of restitution must be executed promptly once it is received by the constable or sheriff, unless the court finds there is good reason to delay the eviction. (It is very rare that the court would delay the eviction.)

This means that as soon as the tenant receives the writ of restitution, or the writ is posted on the rental unit, they will be required to move out and will not be given any additional time.

Arizona Eviction Process Timeline

In Arizona, an eviction can be completed in as little as 1 to 6 weeks but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

Below are the parts of the Arizona eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

Step Estimated Time
Initial Notice Period 5-30 Calendar Days
Court Issuing/Serving Summons 2 Business Days
Court Ruling 3-6 Business Days
Court Serving Writ of Restitution 12 Hours to 5 Days 
Final Notice Period Immediately upon posting the Writ

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Questions? To chat with an Arizona eviction attorney, click here

For additional questions about the eviction process in Arizona, please refer to the official legislation, Arizona Revised Statutes §33-1301 to 33-1381, and the Arizona Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions, Rule 13, for more information.