If you are asking “how do I start the eviction process?”, you are probably already in a place you don’t want to be. No landlord wants to deal with an eviction, and removing a tenant from his or her home is never ideal. If you want to protect your investments as well as your own property rights, though, it’s important that you understand how to start the eviction process according to the laws of Arizona.
How do I start the eviction process?
Evictions can happen for a number of reasons. For the most part, actually evicting a tenant comes down to the fact that the tenant is not following the requirements set down in the landlord-tenant agreement. The landlord may begin the eviction action as soon as the lease is breached, but he or she must give notice before actually evicting the tenant. The type of notice and the timeframe the tenant has to comply vary depending on the nature of the breach, but following the law is a necessity. Knowing the answer to the question of when does the eviction process start can help, but you’ll also need to pay attention to the following advice.
Put aside personal feelings
It’s important to remember that the eviction process is a legal matter, not an emotional matter. No matter your personal feelings towards your tenant, you need to stop and think about what you’re doing in terms of your duties as a property owner. This not only means taking time to calm down and consider your actions, but remembering that you still need to exercise your rights even when you believe that your tenants have a sympathetic story.
When you get to the point of eviction, something has likely gone wrong. In most cases, starting the process doesn’t mean kicking your tenants out – it just means giving them the notice that they need to solve a problem. Do your job as a landlord so that your tenants can live up to their responsibilities as renters.
Never attempt self-help evictions
If you’re ever asked, “when does the eviction process start?”, try to remember that the correct answer is that it starts by following the proper procedures. You should under no circumstances try to do a self-help eviction by locking out your tenants, or by otherwise attempting to force them out of the property in an extra-legal manner. The repercussions of this can be incredibly severe and you can end up not only costing yourself a great deal of money but forcing yourself to deal with problem tenants even longer than you have expected.
Remember, the eviction process in Arizona is fairly owner-friendly. That means that while you will have to wait to get things done, there’s usually a light at the end of the tunnel.
Make sure to have a valid legal reason
Try to remember that you cannot simply evict a tenant because you want him or her off your property. If your tenant has a lease and is living in the home under the terms of the agreement, there’s very little that you can do. As such, you need to familiarize yourself with the reasons that you can evict a tenant.
When you’re thinking about how to start the eviction process, you need to start considering the cause of the eviction. You can evict a tenant for failure to pay rent, for breaking the terms of the lease, for causing damage to the property, for conducting illegal activities on your property, or because the term of the lease is coming to an end. If your reasons for eviction do not fit in those categories, you might have to wait for that tenant to move out.
Present formal eviction notice
The formal notice of eviction involves providing the tenant with a notice to cure or to leave the property. As such, a huge part of learning how to start the eviction process is learning what type of paperwork you will need. If your tenant has not paid rent, you must give the tenant a seven-day notice to cure. If there is a breach of the lease, the tenant has fourteen days to cure. If there is a health and safety violation, the tenant only has ten days to cure. In all of these cases, the tenant will be notified that he or she can choose to move out after a set period of time instead of fixing the problem.
In cases of extreme health or safety violations, or of illegal activity, you may give a tenant an immediate notice to vacate. Note that the burden of proof here is on your side, so you should never jump to this type of notice without solid evidence.
Prepare for hearing
The final step you’ll need to take is to prepare for your hearing. You will want to bring the following with you:
- The lease agreement
- Financial records (payments and/or bounced checks)
- The eviction notice
- Proof that the tenant received the notice
If you have all of the proper documents, going to court is actually fairly quick. The average hearing takes less than half an hour, and most go in favor of the property owner. As long as you’ve followed the rules, you should be able to move on with few problems.
While you never want to have to go through the eviction process, it’s important for you to know how it works. If you don’t want to handle an eviction yourself, your best choice is always to work with a good property management company. C21NW MoneyMaker can help you to not only carry out the administrative tasks required for legal eviction but to screen your tenants so that it’s less likely that you will have to evict anyone at all. When you’re ready to let the professionals help you, make sure to visit C21NW MoneyMaker to download a free five-day eviction notice template.