When Can I Evict a Tenant?
It is not uncommon in Arizona for a person to own rental property. In addition to large corporations there are many individuals who own one or more properties they use to rent out. It comes as no surprise then that Arizona has a lot of rules and regulations regarding tenant’s rights and the owner’s ability to evict a tenant. The Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act sets forth these rights and obligations. These are all codified in Arizona Revised Statutes §§33-1301 through 33-1381. Additionally, Arizona Revised Statutes §§12-1171 and 33-361 the Arizona Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions govern forcible detainer, or eviction actions in Maricopa County.
Generally Speaking evicting a tenant can be done for two reasons. The first is for cause, meaning the tenant has violated the lease in some way. The second is without cause, meaning the landlord has no remedy to terminate the lease early and must wait until the end of the renal term. A tenancy cannot also be terminated if both the landlord and the tenant mutually agree to it. First, we will look at some of the reasons why a landlord may have “cause” to evict a tenant.
The most common reason a landlord has to evict a tenant is for nonpayment of rent. If the tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, Arizona Revised Statute §33-1368 allows the landlord can give the tenant what is commonly known as the “five-day notice”. This notice informs the tenant that if the tenant does not pay the required rent, and sometimes late fees as well, the landlord will have the option to terminate the rental agreement and file an eviction action in the court having appropriate jurisdiction. For more on evictions, see our blog What to Expect in an Eviction Action.
Although failure to pay rent may be the most common reason for eviction, there are other reasons a landlord may have legal cause to evict a tenant. For instance there could be another violation of the lease agreement, such as the tenant keeping an unapproved pet, allowing unapproved roommates to live in the property or sub-letting the property without the landlords approval. A landlord can also evict a tenant who commits a crime on the premises or if the tenant fails to maintain the rental unit such that it affects the health and safety of the tenant or others. For more serious crimes, a landlord can evict a tenant without the opportunity to cure the defect. Arizona Revised Statute §33-1368 allows for an immediate eviction in the case of discharging a weapon, homicide, use or sale of illegal drugs, or assaults or threatening of others, to name a few.
It is also sometimes necessary to terminate a tenancy without cause. For instance, if a landlord wants to end a month to month tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant notice that the tenancy will end in 30 days. If the tenant does not move out, then an eviction action can be brought against the tenant. Similarly, if there is a lease for a fixed term, say of six months or a year, the lease document itself will generally specify whether or not the landlord has to give notice, or if the lease will simply continue on a month to month basis.
If you have a tenant you believe is not following the lease, and you would like more information regarding eviction, it is important to talk with an experienced attorney regarding all available options before deciding. Platt & Westby has offices in Phoenix, Arrowhead, Litchfield Park, Scottsdale and Gilbert Arizona. Contact our office by calling 602-277-4441 or visit www.plattwestby.com to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Written By: Kent Millward