Jan 31, 2014

I Don't Have a Signed Lease Agreement, What Can I Do?

Occasionally, I'll be asked by a landlord what they should do in situations where they don't have a signed lease agreement and the tenant isn't paying. The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act address this exact issue.

Section 33-1314(B) of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act states: "In the absence of a rental agreement, the tenant shall pay as rent the fair rental value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit."

This rule extends to all people and not just formal tenants. So, for instance, if you invite a friend into your house to rent a room for $300 a month. Even without a written lease agreement you can evict that friend for non-payment of rent.

The "fair rental value" of an Arizona rental property can be disputed by reasonable people it is best to make sure that you have a written lease agreement in place before ever letting a tenant move into the property.

Jan 24, 2014

A.R.S. 33-1368(E): An Evicted Tenant's Possessions


Often tenants will leave personal property on the premises after they have been evicted. As a landlord you cannot simply keep or throw away the former tenant's belongings. The Arizona Landlord-Tenant Act requires to you maintain their possessions for 21 days. 

Per A.R.S. § 33-1368(E) a landlord, must hold the evicted tenant's possessions for a minimum of 21 days from the day the Writ of Restitution was issued. As the landlord, you may;
  • Keep the tenant's belongings that the rental property for the 21 days,
  • Move the tenant's belongings to an off-site storage facility,
  • Require the tenant to reimburse you for the actual cost of moving and storing their belongings during the 21 day period,
  • Prohibit the tenants from ever returning to the property without your explicit permission.
As a landlord you may NOT;
  • Require the tenant pay for the judgment you obtained against them prior to releasing the belongings to them. Meaning you cannot require a tenant pay you for all back rent, late fees, attorneys' fees, and court costs prior to returning their belongings. (Again, you can only demand payment for the actual cost of storing and moving the belongings.)
  • Dispose of the tenant's property prior to the expiration of the 21 days.  
If you do choose to remove the tenant's belongings from the rental property use considerable care, you will be responsible for any damage to their belongings. It is a good idea to photograph, or video the premises, so that you have an inventory of what was left behind. Make sure the date can be verified through the images and video. This will also give you the opportunity to catalog any damage to the rental unit itself. Take the inventory prior to moving any of the personal property from the rental unit.

After the 21 day period, if there has been no contact from the evicted party, and they have not claimed, or made and agreement to claim their property, a landlord may sell the items or dispose of the items that were left behind.

Questions regarding the eviction of your Arizona tenant?  Contact Arizona Real Estate Attorney Clint Dunaway at 480-344-4035.

Jan 22, 2014

5-Day Notices for Non-Payment of Rent: AKA Pay or Quit Notices

In Arizona, the process of evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent begins with mailing a 5-day notice. Landlords should send the 5-day notice via certified mail so they can prove it was at least mailed. Even if the tenant never signs for the 5-day notice it is still legally considered having been received 5 days after it was mailed.

The 5-day notice demands that the tenant pay ALL past due rent, late fees, and other outstanding fees in full within 5 days. If, the tenant attempts to tender the full amount owed within the 5 day period then it must be accepted. A landlord can't reject payment from a tenant and then turn-around and evict them for non-payment of rent. It's important to note that if a landlord accepts even one dollar from a tenant then they cannot be evicted in that same calendar. month. If a tenant does tender a partial payment then read this blog post on how to formally reject a partial rent payment.

If rent is not tendered during the 5 day period then a Complaint is filed with the appropriate justice court. Within 6 days of filing the Complaint an eviction hearing will be held. This is something that we attend for all of our clients.

If you have questions about how to properly serve your tenant with a 5-day notice feel free to give us a call at 480-344-4035.

Jan 21, 2014

Northwest Regional Court Center

The Northwest Regional Court Center in Surprise, Arizona is actually comprised of several different court from both the Justice and Superior Court systems.


The Maricopa County Northwest Regional Court Center in Surprise, Arizona is located at 14264 West Tierra Buena Lane, Surprise, Arizona 85374. 

The Arrowhead justice court, Hassayampa justice court, Manistee justice court, and North Valley justice court, are all located in this Northwest Regional Court Center.

Additionally, the Superior Court has an office in the Northwest Regional Court Center.