Arizona Eviction Process

Last Updated: October 18, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Arizona can take around one to six 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).

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Landlords in Arizona are allowed to file an Eviction Action under the Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions (also known as RPEA); however, before the landlord is able to terminate a rental agreement, the landlord must give the tenant notice and have cause to terminate the tenancy early. The type of notice required will depend on the reason for the eviction. Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Arizona.

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:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served, allowing the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord shall give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue or violation before moving forward with the eviction process.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Illegal Activity – If a tenant or any other occupant of the rental unit has engaged in illegal activity, the landlord is not required to provide written notice prior to beginning an eviction action.
NOTES
  • 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 tenant within a six month time frame of the abovementioned could result in the tenant using this as a defense.
  • 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 five 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.

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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 and remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process 11 days after the tenant receives the eviction notice.

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Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease

In the state of Arizona, if tenants “holdover,” 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.

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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 five 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, destroying or neglecting the premises 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.

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Eviction Process for Illegal Activity

Arizona landlords are required to give written notice to tenants who are involved in illegal activity prior to beginning the eviction process; however, Arizona state law doesn’t specify how much notice is required. In certain circumstances, Arizona landlords may give the tenant an unconditional quit notice, this means that the lease is terminated immediately without any opportunity to remedy the situation or problem.

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 serious property damage
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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. In Justice Court, the total amount that a landlord may claim in an Eviction Action is $10,000 and in Superior Court, the total amount a landlord may claim is greater than $10,000. The landlord must also file in the jurisdiction in where the rental property is located.

The summons must be issued on the same day the complaint is filed with the court. A copy of the lease agreement including any addendums shall be served with the complaint and summons. The complaint must be served to the tenant by a certified process server at least two days prior to the eviction hearing through one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person; and
  2. 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, the landlord’s agent or attorney, and can only be served via certified process server.

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

Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment

The eviction hearing must take place three to six days after the date the summons was issued.

For illegal activity evictions, however, the hearing will take place three 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 three to five days may be requested by either party. The continuance can only be three days in justice court or five 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 five 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.

Three 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.

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 five 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. It is important to note that these time frames can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.

  1. Initial Notice Period – between 5 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
  2. Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – 2 days prior to the eviction hearing.
  3. 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.
  4. Issuance of Writ of Restitution – 12 hours to 5 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
  5. Return of Possession – Immediately upon delivering/posting the writ.

Flowchart of Arizona Eviction Process

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Additional Information

Mobile Home Park Evictions

Any evidence that is clear and convincing that the tenant has repeatedly violated the Arizona Revised Statues, Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions, Mobile Home Park Act or the RV Long-Term Rental Space Act may result in an eviction case. A landlord may evict a mobile home park tenant for the following reasons:

  1. Noncompliance with the Rental Agreement. The landlord must give the tenant a written notice identifying the problems and inform the tenant that the rental agreement will terminate in 30 or more days if the tenant has not fixed the problems within 14 days.
  2. Nonpayment of Rent. The landlord shall give written notice for unpaid rent and the rental agreement will terminate if rent is not paid in seven days.
  3. Noncompliance with the Rental Agreement Affecting Health and Safety. If there is evidence that there are problems affecting health and safety, the landlord shall give the tenant a written notice identifying the problems and inform the tenant that the rental agreement will terminate in 20 or more days if the tenant has not fixed the problems in 10 days.
  4. Immediate Termination. If the landlord has reason to believe the tenant has broken the rental agreement and that the problem is both material and irreparable, the landlord shall give the tenant a notice for immediate termination of the rental agreement and file the eviction action on the same day.

Possible Eviction Defenses for Tenants

If a landlord has unlawfully tried to evict, the tenant may have several defenses to aid in their eviction case, which may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The tenant was forced out of the dwelling unit unlawfully (i.e. the landlord changed the locks or turned off any utilities before the writ of restitution).
  • Improper procedures were used by the landlord to evict the tenant (i.e. did not serve the eviction notice).
  • The landlord failed to make necessary repairs to the premises (i.e. did not maintain the air conditioning or plumbing)
  • The landlord did not give the tenant an opportunity to remedy the violation
  • Discriminatory evictions (i.e. eviction based on race, age, religion, etc.)

Possible Eviction Remedies for Landlord

Depending on the violation, circumstances and the courts’ judgment, the landlord may be entitled to recover the following:

  1. Recover all reasonable damages resulting from noncompliance by the tenant;
  2. Court costs;
  3. Reasonable attorney fees;
  4. All quantifiable damage caused by the tenant to the premises;
  5. An amount equal to or not more than two months’ periodic rent or twice the damages, (whichever is greater); and
  6. Seizure of the tenant’s personal property to secure payment of the unpaid rent. If the rent is not paid and satisfied within sixty days after seizure as provided for in this section, the landlord may sell the seized personal property.

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.