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Read further to learn more about the eviction process in Arizona and how many days’ notice are required in which situations.
What’s an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice is a legal form of disclosure that lets a tenant know that they are in clear violation of their lease agreement, and either need to correct the issue or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to take action after proper legal notice is given, the landlord may evict the tenant. When a landlord provides written legal notice to a tenant to correct a violation of the lease agreement, it is referred to as a “Notice to Quit.”
The eviction process in the state of Arizona must follow the state laws under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
A tenant may be evicted for any of these three things or some combination of them: 1) failure to pay the rent; 2) violating the terms and conditions of the rental agreement in a significant way, and; 3) engaging in certain criminal behavior or creating a hazard for other tenants.
Notice to Quit
Under Arizona law Section 33-1368, to begin the eviction process, a landlord in Arizona must first give the tenant a Notice to Quit. The Notice to Quit states the reason for the eviction and if the reason is curable or irreparable.
A curable reason allows a tenant to do something to fix the problem, such as paying the past due rent and late fees.
An irreparable reason does not allow the tenant to do anything that would allow them to remain as a tenant. An example of an irreparable reason occurs if the tenant is evicted for participating in certain crimes or putting false information on a rental application about criminal convictions or prior evictions.
For curable reasons, the Notice To Quit states the number of calendar days that the tenant has to fix the problem such as to pay the past due rent or correct a violation of the rental agreement.
If the tenant fails to pay the past due rent and/or to correct the violation of the rental agreement, within the given number of days, then the tenant must move out to avoid the legal proceedings of an eviction.
If a tenant fails to fix the problem or to move out upon expiration of the days given in the notice, then the landlord may file a lawsuit against the tenant called an “unlawful detainer” action. The landlord can petition the court for the restitution of the rental property (restoring the landlord’s control over the property) and monetary damages in the form of past due rent, late fees, the cost of repairs, and legal expenses.
Information to Include on a Notice
For each of the notices described below include the following information on them:
- Name of the Tenant: This is the tenant’s full legal name exactly as shown in the rental agreement.
- Identify the Rental Property: State the property address and the county where it is located.
- Identify the Rental Agreement: State the agreement name, the parties to the agreement, and the date it was signed.
- Specify the Violation of the Rental Agreement: Give details about the violations and note if it is curable or irreparable.
- Describe Tenant’s Actions Needed: Tell the tenant what they must do.
- Give the Due Date for the Tenant’s Actions: This may be immediate, five days, ten days, or 30 days.
- Landlord Signs and Dates the Notice:Sign and date, using the date when it is given or mailed to the tenant.
Types of Notices
The different types of a Notice to Quit are:
- Notice of Irreparable Breach: This type of notice is used for certain criminal and hazardous activities.
- 5-Day Notice: This notice is used for the non-payment of rent.
- 10-Day Notice to Quit: This notice is used for significant violations of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
- 30-Day Notice to Quit: This notice is used to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement.
Notice of Irreparable Breach
This notice is used when the tenant has done something serious that cannot be fixed. It is immediately effective on the same day that it is served, if hand delivered directly in-person to the tenant. This service may be done by the landlord or another adult person.
If a landlord fears confrontation with the tenant, this Notice of Irreparable Breach can be mailed to the tenant by certified mail and then, it is effective three days after being mailed.
The Notice of Irreparable Breach is used for dangerous and criminal activity, such as, but not limited to:
- Illegal discharge of a firearm on the rental property, unless used for self-defense.
- Crimes such as assault, homicide, prostitution, and criminal gang activity.
- Manufacture, possession, use, sale, transfer, or storing an illegal drug.
- Threatening or intimidating anyone on the premises.
- Creating a serious nuisance that disturbs others.
- Jeopardizing the safety, health, and/or welfare of anyone on the premises.
- Causing serious property damage or it is likely to occur.
This legal process goes quickly and follows the Arizona state law Section 33-1377 for a special detainer action.
The eviction lawsuit starts with a complaint that is filed with the court of proper jurisdiction in the county where the rental property is located. This complaint can be filed at any time, starting from immediately after the Notice of Irreparable Breach is given to the tenant or three days later if the notice is mailed.
After the complaint is filed, a summons is issued by the court for the tenant to appear in court. The court appearance date for the tenant must be no less than three days and no longer than six days after the date the summons.
This court date may be postponed at the request of the tenant by showing good cause and by submitting a sworn affidavit to the court. The postponement may be only up to three days in Justice Court and up to five days in Superior Court.
If at the hearing the court finds by a “preponderance of evidence” that an irreparable breach did occur, then the court awards the landlord restitution of the rental property in not less than 12 hours and no more than 24 hours later. The court may also award the landlord late charges and rent (up to the full remaining term of the rental agreement), repair costs, and court filing fees plus any legal costs.
Landlords need to be careful when using this procedure. If the court finds the tenant not guilty of the landlord’s claims due to lack of evidence, the court can award the legal costs of the tenant to be paid by the landlord. In such a case, the landlord has to pay these legal costs and allow the tenant to continue to live in the rental property.
This is the notice used with the tenant‘s rent payment is late. It also sets the date for the charging of late fees.
Under Arizona law, Section 33-361 (A), a tenant has five days after receiving this notice to pay the rent and then after that any late fees are also due. If the tenant fails to pay the rent with any late fees that are also due and does not move out, the landlord can sue the tenant for eviction. This is done by the landlord filing a complaint for an unlawful detainer in the county court where the rental property is located.
Under Arizona law, Section 33-1368 (2) (B), the tenant has three chances to pay the past due rent and remain in the rental property, which are:
- 1. Pay the past due rent before the fifth day after receiving the 5-Day notice.
- 2. Pay the past due rent and any late fees that are due before the filing of the unlawful detainer action.
- 3. After the unlawful detainer is filed, pay the past due rent and any late fees plus the landlord’s attorney’s fees and court costs.
After the court enters a judgment for the unlawful detainer action, the landlord has the sole discretion, from then on, about accepting any payment from the tenant to reinstate the rental agreement.
10-Day Notice to Quit
This notice is to inform the tenant of a material violation of the rental agreement, in order to give the tenant a chance to fix the problem.
Typical violations of the rental agreement that can be fixed are exceeding the number of authorized occupants, guests staying too long, pets (when not allowed), noise complaints, unsanitary living conditions, and so forth.
If a tenant cures the problem within the 10 days, the eviction stops. However, under Arizona law, Section 33-1368 (2) the rules are slightly different if a tenant gets a second 10-Day Notice to Quit for the same or a similar violation during the remaining term of the rental agreement. In such a case, the tenant may be evicted at the landlord’s discretion without the tenant being given a chance the fix the problem for a second time.
30-Day Notice to Quit
This notice is the one to use to simply inform the tenant that a month-to-month rental agreement is being terminated at the landlord’s discretion. Also, if the tenant wants to move out of a place subject to a month-to-month rental agreement, this same notice can be given by the tenant to the landlord.
The Eviction Process in Arizona
Here are the steps for a landlord to take for an eviction:
- Serve the tenant with a written notice of one of the kinds described above. Service may be accomplished by any adult handing a copy of the notice directly to the tenant in person. Putting the notice under the door or attaching it to the door is not acceptable.The only alternative for proper service is mailing a copy of the notice to the tenant as certified mail through the U.S. postal system. If this method is used, add three calendar days to the notice days to account for the time needed for the mail delivery to occur.
- If the problem is irreparable, go to the county court where the property is located any time after serving the tenant with a Notice of Irreparable Breach. File a complaint for unlawful detainer with a summons and pay the court filing fee.If the problem is curable, wait the time necessary for the tenant to respond in order to allow the tenant to fix the problem. If the tenant fails to fix the problem and does not move out before the deadline stated in the notice, then go to the county court where the property is located to file a complaint for unlawful detainer with a summons and pay the court filing fee.To file a case with the Justice Court, five copies are needed of the complaint and of the summons. Here is an example package of court-approved documents for Maricopa County. Each county court in Arizona may be slightly different, so check with the county court clerk where the filing will be made.
- The court will keep a copy for its files and give back four copies, which are stamped showing that the case has been filed. The summons will show the date of the court appearance (called a “hearing”) for the landlord and the tenant. The landlord can go to court on that date or send an attorney to represent the landlord. The landlord keeps one copy of the documents for the landlord’s records.The tenant is served two copies along with a copy of the Residential Eviction Information Sheet. This service must be done by a process server at least two calendar days prior to the court hearing date.The process server keeps one copy. A process server is an adult person, other than the landlord, who hands the court papers to the tenant or makes sure that the papers were mailed properly to the tenant. The process server fills out a certification of service form to give to the landlord who can take it to the court.
- On the court hearing date, bring a copy of the notice and a sworn declaration that it was served properly. Also, bring a copy of the complaint, a copy of the summons, and a sworn declaration that it was served properly. Have the Judgment in favor of the landlord already prepared for the judge to sign if the tenant fails to appear.On the hearing date, if the tenant appears, the judge will ask the tenant if the tenant disputes the eviction. If the tenant disputes the eviction, the judge will set a hearing date for the trial.
- At the trail, the parties are given the opportunity to present evidence supporting their case. The landlord’s side should give ample evidence and request the judge to award a Judgment that may include past due rent, late fees, costs for repairs, court filing fees, and legal expenses. The landlord should also ask for a Writ of Restitution to give to the sheriff’s department to have the tenant physically removed from the premises if necessary.The judge decides the outcome and makes a ruling at the end of the trial, usually completed on the same day. The parties have the option to appeal the ruling to the Superior Court if either party disagrees with the judge.
- If the landlord prevails in court and the tenant does not voluntarily leave, then the landlord requests the sheriff’s department to remove the tenant.