Read further to learn more about the residential lease termination process in Arizona and how many days’ notice are required in which situations.
What is a Lease Termination Notice?
A residential lease termination notice is delivered to a tenant when a landlord requests to end the lease agreement. The ultimate goal of this notice is to have the tenant move out of the property within the specific time frame indicated by Arizona law.
Under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, there are three types of leases in Arizona. They are weekly, month-to-month, and for longer than one month (usually one year or perhaps longer).
When either a tenant wants to vacate a rental unit or a landlord wants the tenant to leave, one party must notify the other party in writing by giving a notice to the other party (called “service”), in advance of the lease termination date.
How to Serve a Notice
Giving a written notice to another party is a legal process called service.
Any adult person can serve a notice to another party by handing to it personally to them. A landlord or tenant may do this themselves. If so, it is a good idea to have a witness accompany them when giving the notice to the other person. Alternatively, there are service professionals that will do this service for a fee.
Another method of allowed service is that the notice can be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service using certified mail. If a notice is mailed, add five calendar days to the required notice days (discussed below) to give the mail enough time to arrive.
Please note that slipping a notice under a door or attaching it a door is NOT considered proper service. If it is not possible to hand the notice to the person directly or to another adult member of the same household, then mail it instead by certified mail. Also, courts may not recognize alternative delivery services such as FedEx or UPS, so be sure to use the official USPS certified mail process, if the notice is mailed.
Certificate of Service
The documentation that is used to prove that the notice was given or mailed to the other person is called a “certificate of service.” An adult person fills out the certificate of service, which states that the notice was given or mailed to a person named in the certificate on the date written on the certificate. The certificate is signed by the person doing the service, who can be any adult person, including a landlord or a tenant.
Required Notice Days
Here are the calendar days required for advance notice to terminate a lease agreement:
- Weekly Agreements: For weekly leases, give the notice to the other party at least 10 calendar days (15, if mailed) before the termination date.
- Month-to-Month Agreements: For month-to-month leases, give the notice to the other party at least 30 calendar days (35, if mailed) prior to the periodic rental date that is stated in the written agreement.If the next periodic rental date is fewer than 30 calendar days from the date of the notice, then the lease termination date is delayed to the subsequent periodic rental date.
- More than a Month: For leases longer than one month, give the notice to the other party at least 30 calendar days (35, if mailed) prior to the lease termination date that is stated in the written agreement.If the lease has an automatic renewal provision and the tenant chooses not to stay past the original term, the tenant should inform the landlord by giving the landlord written notice at least 30 calendar days (35, if mailed) prior to the lease automatic renewal date.If a lease expires and neither the landlord nor the tenant gives the other party a notice to terminate, then the lease automatically converts to a month-to-month agreement, while at the same time preserving all other terms and conditions of the agreement. Thereafter, if either party wants to give notice to the other one, this requires following the same procedures as used for a month-to month agreement (described above).
What happens if a tenant fails to move out by the termination date?
Under Arizona law Section 33-1375 (C), if the tenant remains in the rental unit without the consent of the landlord after the termination date, the landlord can bring a lawsuit to take possession of the rental unit called a “special detainer action.” This is commonly known as an eviction.
If the landlord can convince the court that the holdover by the tenant is both willful and in bad faith, the landlord may recover damages equal to twice the periodic rental payment amount or twice the actual amount of financial damages suffered by the landlord, whichever amount is higher.
Arizona Termination Notice Form Requirements
The termination notice is a simple one page form. It can be given by the landlord to the tenant or used by the tenant to give notice to the landlord.
Here are the steps to take to fill in the form and the basic information needed to create one:
- Tenant’s or Landlord’s Information: At the top, fill in the tenant’s or landlord’s full legal name as it appears in the lease agreement and their address for delivery of the notice.
- Rental Unit’s Information:Fill in the information identifying the rental unit of the lease agreement.
- Termination Date: Calculate the termination date according to the advance notice days required (as described above) for each type of lease. Enter this termination date on the form.
- Signature/Date: Sign and date the form and then serve the notice on party who needs to be informed about it.
Additional Information for Termination Notices Served on a Tenant
If the Notice of Termination is being served on a tenant, a landlord should include the language of the actual Arizona law from Section 33-1375 (C), which explains the landlord’s ability to recover double damages if the tenant fails to vacate the property on time.
The tenant has until the end of the day (midnight) of the termination date to vacate the rental unit. The following day, the landlord may file a lawsuit for a special detainer action to recover possession of the rental unit and potential damages.
For added protection, in order to make sure the tenant is completely informed, the landlord should give the tenant a copy of the Arizona laws that relate to special detainer actions and termination notices or inform the tenant that this information can be found online at the website for the Arizona Department of Housing.
Use Common Sense
If there is no dispute between the parties, be smart, hand the notice to the other party and thank them. It can be very shocking and intimidating to get a package of legal papers by certified mail, when all that is desired is to inform the other person of the lease termination date so they can make plans to move out and the landlord can re-rent the rental unit.