Arizona has eviction laws that protect tenants and require landlords to provide certain notifications and take specific actions if they wish to terminate a lease. When tenants fail to live up to the terms of their lease, landlords have every right to evict them — however, it must be done legally or there could be unpleasant consequences.
Notice for termination with cause.
A landlord must have legal cause to evict a tenant before the end of the lease agreement. The landlord must first give the tenant notice to start the eviction process as follows:
Failure to pay rent. If a tenant does not pay rent by the due date, the landlord can issue a five-day notice to pay rent stating that if the tenant does not pay the rent due within five days, the lease agreement will be terminated. If the tenant fails to pay within five days, the landlord can then file an eviction suit in the county where the property is located.
NOTE: Due to COVID-19, Arizona is following an eviction moratorium for failure to pay rent issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This moratorium is in effect until March 31, 2021, unless it is extended.
Failure to maintain the rental unit. If a tenant fails to maintain the rental unit and that failure poses a health or safety risk to the occupants of the unit, the landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to cure. If the tenant does not perform the necessary maintenance within five days, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
Violation of lease agreement. If a tenant violates any of the terms of the lease agreement, the landlord can give a 10-day notice to cure. The tenant then has 10 days in which to fix the violation or the lease will be terminated. If the tenant fails to cure the violation, the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit.
Unconditional quit notice. Arizona law allows landlords to give tenants an unconditional quit notice when criminal activity has occurred or is ongoing in the rental unit. An unconditional quit notice means that the tenant’s lease is terminated immediately and the tenant has no opportunity to remedy the situation. After serving this notice, the landlord can immediately file an eviction lawsuit. Since this notice is immediate, Arizona law allows it to only be used under the following conditions:
- Discharging a weapon
- Illegal street gang activity
- Illegal drug sale or use
- Assault or other harmful acts
Landlords must follow the proper legal process for removing tenants from their property. Landlords are not allowed to change locks, remove doors, turn off utilities, or take other similar measures to remove a tenant. If a landlord violates this prohibition, a tenant is entitled to sue for two months’ rent or twice the actual damages, whichever is greater. If a tenant elects to terminate the lease, the landlord must return any security deposit and prepaid rent.
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