Steps of the eviction process in Arizona:
Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Arizona can take around 1-6 weeks, depending on whether the eviction is for illegal activity or another type of eviction. If tenants request a continuance or jury trial, the process can take longer (read more).
Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Arizona.
Step 1: Notice is Posted
Landlords in Arizona can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
- Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord must give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
- Material Health / Safety Violation – If the tenant violates a health, building, safety, or housing code, they must be given the opportunity to fix (“cure”) the issue before the eviction process proceeds further.
- Illegal Activity – If a tenant or any other occupant of the rental unit is engaged in illegal activity, the landlord is not required to provide written notice prior to beginning an eviction action.
- Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining, supporting, or organizing a tenant organization or union.
- Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property is an “unwanted guest” of a tenant, landlords can have law enforcement officers remove the party without going through the eviction process. For other types of squatters, the normal eviction process may or may not be applicable (read more).
Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
According to Arizona law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due, and grace periods (if any) are addressed in the lease/rental agreement.
Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide a 5-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within 5 days in order to avoid eviction.
If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement
A tenant can be evicted in Arizona if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement.
Arizona landlords must provide tenants with a 10-Day Notice to Comply, giving tenants 10 days to correct the issue in order to avoid eviction.
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.
In addition, in Arizona this includes putting false/misleading information on the rental application about:
- The number people living in the rental unit
- Tenant’s income
- Tenant’s social security number
- Tenant’s current employer/employment status
- Tenant’s criminal history/current criminal activity
- Tenant’s prior eviction history
False/misleading information related to eviction history and criminal history/current criminal activity cannot be corrected by the tenant in order to avoid eviction.
Note that illegal activity and material health/safety violations are not included in this category.
If the tenant fails to correct the issue within the deadline/remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease
In the state of Arizona, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.
Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.
The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.
- Week-to-week – If rent is paid on a week-to-week basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 10-Day Notice to Quit.
- Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Material Health / Safety Violation
A tenant can be evicted in Arizona if they violate a health, building, safety, or housing code. In these instances, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Comply, giving the tenant 5 days to correct the issue.
Examples of material health/safety violations could include letting trash pile up inside the rental unit, providing a harbor for rodents or bugs, or even things like damaging the electrical wiring in the rental unit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, without correcting the violation, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Illegal Activity
Arizona landlords are not required to give written notice to tenants who are involved in illegal activity prior to beginning the eviction process.
In Arizona, illegal activity includes:
- Illegal discharge of a weapon
- Criminal street gang activity
- 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 serious property damage
The landlord may proceed directly to step 2 below without providing prior written notice in these instances.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
As the next step in the eviction process, Arizona landlords must file a complaint (or for criminal nonpayment of rent evictions, request an order for eviction) in the appropriate court. This costs $35 in filing fees statewide for justice court, and $218 in filing fees statewide for superior court.
The summons must be issued on the same day the complaint is filed with the court, and must be served on the tenant by a certified process server at least 2 days prior to the eviction hearing through one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person
- Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental property AND mailing a copy to the tenant via certified mail
Regardless of the chosen method, the summons and complaint may not be served by the landlord or the landlord’s agent/attorney, and can only be served via certified process server.
2 days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant at least 2 days prior to the eviction hearing.
Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment
The eviction hearing must take place 3-6 days after the date the summons was issued.
For illegal activity evictions, however, the hearing will take place 3 days after the date the summons was issued.
Tenants may file a written answer if they choose; however, it is not required in order for the tenant to appear at the eviction hearing. Any defenses or objections to the eviction can be made in person at the hearing.
A continuance of 3-5 days may be requested by either party. The continuance can only be 3 days in justice court or 5 days in superior court.
If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, it will not be continued, and the judge will rule in favor of the landlord.
Tenants will have 5 days to file an appeal, unless the eviction is for illegal activity, and then tenants will only have 24 hours to file the appeal.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of restitution will be issued and the eviction process will proceed.
3-6 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.
Step 4: Writ of Restitution Is Issued
The writ of restitution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit prior to being forcibly removed from the property by the sheriff or constable.
If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a writ of restitution. For evictions due to illegal activity, the writ will be issued 12-24 hours after judgment is entered for the landlord.
For all other evictions, the writ will be issued at least 5 days after the judgment in favor of the landlord.
If the tenant remains in the rental unit after the writ is issued, possession of the rental unit will be forcibly returned to the landlord.
12 hours to 5 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned
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.
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.
Arizona Eviction Process Timeline
Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Arizona. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.
- Initial Notice Period – between 5 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
- Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – 2 days prior to the eviction hearing.
- Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – 3-6 days after the date the summons is issued; longer if a continuance or jury trial is requested.
- Issuance of Writ of Restitution – 12 hours to 5 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
- Return of Possession – Immediately upon delivering/posting the writ.
Flowchart of Arizona Eviction Process
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.