Sep 17, 2017

Suing For Unpaid Rent AFTER the Eviction

If a tenant is evicted before their lease was completed, can a landlord sue for all the future rents until the end of the scheduled lease? The answer is; "yes", "no" and "maybe".

Let me answer this question by using an example. Landlord and Tenant sign a 24 month lease agreement. Tenant promises to pay $1,000 each month for rent. However, 6 months into the lease tenant does not pay rent and so the landlord evicts him. Tenant still has 18 months left on his 2 year lease. Can landlord sue tenant for the remaining 18 months? The answer is "yes" and the answer is "no". I will address the "No" answer first.

No, a Landlord may not sue for future rents after an eviction.

A landlord may not sue a tenant for future unpaid rents through the eviction lawsuit. The landlord won't know how long the property will sit empty and therefore the courts award would be based off of speculation. But a landlord can sue for all past rents owed during an eviction lawsuit.

A landlord has a duty to "mitigate" his losses. A landlord mitigates his losses after an eviction by doing everything possible to re-rent the property. Landlord must take the same actions they would if re-renting the property under normal circumstances. The Arizona landlord cannot simply let the property sit empty for 18 months and then sue the tenant because the property sat empty. He must take all reasonable actions to re-rent the property as soon as possible. Again, a landlord may not sue a tenant for future rent through an eviction lawsuit. However, there is another option a landlord may take to recoup losses from a breaching tenant.

Yes, a Landlord MAY sue a former tenant for unpaid rents.

Yes, a landlord may sue a former tenant for unpaid rents after they were evicted from the Property. However, the landlord must first market and re-rent the Property before suing the former tenant. The law doesn't allow for double-dipping, meaning you cannot sue a former tenant for terminating a lease 16 months earlier while collecting rent each month from a new tenant.

However, you can sue a previous tenant for all the months the Property sat vacant until it was re-leased to a new person. Using the example from above, let's assume the landlord re-rented the Property one month after evicting the previous tenant. In this situation the Property only sat empty for one month and so the previous tenant is only liable to one months rent to the Landlord. Regardless of how many more months or years were left on a previous tenants lease, a landlord can only sue for the months the Property actually sat empty.

For this, and other reasons it rarely makes sense to sue a tenant for the months a Property sat vacant before you re-rented it. Call experienced real estate attorney Clint Dunaway at 480-344-4035 or send me an email at cdunaway@davismiles.com. 

Jul 26, 2017

Southwest Regional Court Center in Avondale, Arizona

This morning I had the opportunity to go to the new Southwest Regional Court Center in Avondale, Arizona. This new Regional Court Center houses four justice courts; Agua Fria, Country Meadows, Maryvale, and White Tank.






Previously these four justice courts were scattered across the west valley in extremely old and outdated facilities. Agua Fria was in a dilapidated strip mall. Maryvale was in a larger strip mall.

Mar 23, 2017

Eviction Trials in Arizona

What is the Difference between an Eviction Hearing and Eviction Trial?
Every eviction case in Arizona requires an Eviction hearing but occasionally the matter will be set for trial. At an Eviction hearing the landlord or landlord's attorney appears and shows a judge the necessary paperwork to receive a judgment. For good cause showing the judge may set the matter for trial.

Why Would a Judge Set it for a Trial?
Under certain circumstances the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires that an eviction case be set for a trial. The case will be set for trial if; the tenant appears and makes a legal defense to the attorney's claims. Depending on how strict a judge interprets this statute, the hearing may be stopped the moment a tenant presents a legal defense and set for trial. Other judges will allow the landlord's attorney and the tenant an opportunity to present their best arguments for a moment before dismissing the case or setting it for trial. However, most judges will not listen to any testimony or view evidence at the initial hearing and just set it for trial.

What Can I Expect at an Eviction Trial in Arizona?
Eviction trials can last from 30 minutes or so to several hours. During eviction trials both parties are given the opportunity to make brief introductory statements. Landlords and tenants may introduce evidence and question witnesses. Typical evidence is; pictures, text messages, lease agreements, and emails. Eviction trials can last for several hours.

Mar 6, 2017

Eviction from Arizona Mobile Home Park

***This Specific Post Only Applies to Arizona Mobile Home Parks***

The landlord-tenant relationship with Arizona Mobile Home Parks is very different from the law that pertains to renting a traditional home or apartment. One major different between mobile home parks and traditional rental properties is the types of notices that are used to terminate a tenant's lease.

For instance, when a renter is behind on rent in a house then the landlord delivers a 5-day notice to pay or quit. However, A.R.S. § 33-1476 of the Arizona Mobile Home Parks Act requires the landlord to provide a 7-day notice to pay or quit. 

A second major distinction between the two Acts is requiring justification for non-renewal or termination of lease. In a traditional lease agreement a landlord can provide a tenant with a 30-day notice "without cause". Meaning the landlord does not have to give justification to the tenant as to why they are terminating the lease. 

However, per A.R.S. § 33-1476(A),
"The landlord shall specify the reason or reasons for the termination or non-renewal of any tenancy in the mobile home park. The reason or reasons relief on for the termination or non-renewal shall be stated in writing with specific facts..." 

Additionally, under A.R.S. § 33-1476(B) the landlord cannot terminate the tenancy without good cause. "Good cause" means;
  1. Non-compliance with any provision of the rental agreement.
  2. Non-payment of rent.
  3. Change in use of land.
  4. Clear and convincing evidence that a tenant has repeatedly violated any provision of this chapter and established a pattern of non-compliance with such provisions. 
Furthermore, A.R.S. § 33-1476(C) says there is a second part to section (B) and that until the landlord has complied with subsection D. E or H they cannot continue with the eviction. Wow!

A.R.S. § 33-1476(D)(1) States that before there can be a material non-compliance by the tenant, the landlord shall deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach of the rental agreement. If the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than thirty days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied in fourteen days. If the tenant remedies the situation within the time specified in the notice, the landlord shall issue a notice to the tenant releasing the tenant from the termination of rental agreement notice.
A.R.S. § 33-1476(D)(2) States: If there is a material breach by the tenant consisting of a noncompliance affecting health and safety, the landlord must deliver a notice terminating their lease in not less than 20 days. But, if the tenant remedies the situation within 10 days then the landlord must deliver another notice to the tenant informing them that their lease is not being terminated.
A.R.S. § 33-1476(D)(3) States: If there is a material and irreparable breach that occurs from shooting, murder, gang activity, prostitution, selling of drugs, threaten or intimidating, assault then the landlord may deliver a notice immediately terminating their tenancy.
A.R.S. § 33-1476(D)(4) States: If a tenant engages in repetitive poor behavior of two or more incidents of the same type within a 12 month period, the landlord may deliver a notice to the tenant stating that on the next incident of the same type final notice will be given and the rental agreement will be terminated 30 days after the date of the notice. 
A.R.S. § 33-1476(D)(5) States: If a tenant has been involved in three or more documented incidents, the landlord may deliver notice to the tenant advising that on documentation of the next incident final notice will be given and the lease will be terminated within 30 days.

So if you are having problems with an Arizona tenant in your mobile home park then do not hesitate to contact us at: 480-344-4035 so you can discuss your situation with an experienced eviction attorney.

***This Specific Post Only Applies to Arizona Mobile Home Parks***

Mar 1, 2017

Normal Wear and Tear to Rental Property

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear?

During a rental period a certain amount of wear and tear is to be expected. It can be assumed that paint on the interior walls will become dingy and that traffic wear will be shown on the carpet.

Normal Wear & Tear and the Security Deposit

The Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act states that normal wear and tear cannot be deducted from a tenant's refundable security deposit. Courts have held that landlords can expect to repaint interior walls and clean carpets.

Holes in the walls, large stains on the carpet, and broken appliances are considered to be in excess of normal wear and therefore a landlord can deduct the cost to repair these items from the Security Deposit.

Lastly, click HERE to learn more about Security Deposits and how they should be refunded to tenants.