Most landlords will have to deal with an eviction at some point. The eviction process and the eviction court process in Arizona can both seem complex, but understanding them is a vital part of being an investment property owner. Once you understand the actions that can lead to eviction and the steps you’ll have to take next, you can make an informed decision about how you want to handle such processes as the owner of a property.
An eviction action is, ultimately, any action which results in the removal of the tenant from a property without his or her consent. There are two major types of eviction that tend to occur in Arizona, one of which is fairly simple and one of which is a bit more complex. Both types of eviction do, however, ultimately end up being dealt with in the same way.
In many cases, eviction comes because a property owner decides not to continue a lease. There may have been problems with the tenant in the past or the landlord might decide to go in a new direction with the property, but what is most important is that the landlord has decided to end the tenancy. If the tenant refuses to leave the property even after notice has been given and the tenancy has been brought to an end, an eviction action must occur.
More common, but also more complex, are those situations in which a tenant is in violation of a lease agreement. Evictions might occur because the tenant has failed to pay rent in a timely manner, has breached the lease and refused to rectify the situation, has caused damages and refuses to fix the problems, or has engaged in a criminal or otherwise dangerous act on the property. Evictions can even occur if the tenant presented significantly false information on an application. While in some of these cases the tenant can be given the chance to rectify the situation, an eviction action is also a very likely outcome.
The eviction court process in Arizona
The process of eviction ends in the court system. By the time most cases reach the courts, every possible avenue of reconciliation has been attempted. The tenants have been given a chance to make payments or to rectify any breaches of the lease and the statutory waiting period has come to an end. Understanding the process at court can help a property owner to have realistic expectations for what might come next.
Lawsuit and document requirements
For most property owners, the most important part of the eviction process will be getting the right paperwork. The property owner is required to give four main documents to the tenant during this process, each of which plays an important role in what comes next.
The first document is the Residential Eviction Information Sheet. This is essentially a brief guide that tells the tenant what will happen at court and what, if anything, he or she can do to stop the eviction. The next document is the complaint or the reason why the tenant is being evicted. In addition, the tenant will also be given a copy of any notices that he or she had previously received as well as a summons that tells the tenant where and when to appear in court. Without these documents, the property owner will not be seen to be following the proper procedures for eviction.
What typically happens in court
The eviction court process in Arizona is incredibly quick and efficient. It is also a process that has largely been designed to keep costs down for property owners and to produce lasting results. Because most of the burden lies in the hands of the tenant in these cases, the job of the property owner is to have a lawyer correctly present the relevant paperwork that shows that the property owner has followed the correct eviction procedures.
Typically speaking, the court will give the tenant a chance to refute the claims that have led to the eviction. If the tenant cannot show that either the grounds for eviction were erroneous or that the eviction itself was carried out incorrectly, the judge will issue a ruling in favor of the property owner. The average case tends to take only a few minutes and only an extreme minority of tenants ever actually walk away successfully.
The final, and least likely, part of the eviction court process in Arizona is the appeal. The appeals process, much like the rest of the court process, has largely been crafted to work in the favor of the property owner. This can best be seen by the incredibly rapid timeframe in which the appeal must be filed. A tenant only has five days to file the appeal from the day the judgment has been given, a period during which the tenant must also pay a fee and post two types of bonds.
It’s important to note that the tenant actually has to keep paying rent during this time period. If the tenant does not pay his or her rent, the court can issue a writ of restitution. Even if the appeal is successful, the tenant will be required to continue to make payments to the property owner until such time as the case is settled.
A good property management company can do a great deal to help you through the eviction process. Perhaps the most important thing the company can do, though, is to help you to screen your potential tenants to prevent these issues from occurring at all. Though no property management company can completely eliminate the risk of eviction, a great company like CENTURY21 Moneymaker can help by professionally filing and administering the process so that you don’t have to do the heavy lifting yourself. If you need help with any property management issues, please give us a call today!