Apr 24, 2015

What is a Lis Pendens?

What is a Lis Pendens?  It is a formal notice of pending legal action. The Lis Pendens is filed with the clerk of the court and then filed with the County Recorder. It must be filed subsequent to the beginning of a lawsuit surrounding the property in question.

What's the purpose of filing a Lis Pendens? A lis pendens provides notice of a claim involving specific real estate to potential buyer, lender, and the general public.

What's the effect of filing a Lis Pendens? Any future person who acquires an interest in the property after a lis pendens is recorded is bound by the ultimate results of the pending lawsuit. So even though the Lis Pendens doesn't legally prevent a sale or loan from a practical point it does. Most prospective buyers, lenders and title insurers are very reluctant to become involved with property that could be adversely impacted by a pending suit.

When will the Lis Pendens be released? Typically a court will not release the Lis Pendens until the underlying suit has been resolved in favor of the property owner.Therefore, from a practical perspective the lis pendens can tie up a property for years. This can be devastating for the owner and enormous leverage for the claimant. 

Is a Lis Pendens a lien? No, in and of itself, a Lis Pendens does not place a legal lien on a property.

Apr 23, 2015

Big News for AZ Landlords!

A law was passed earlier this month giving Arizona landlords the power to evict anyone not named on the lease without going through the courts - that means they can call up the police and have them escorted from the property without the usual process of serving notice, filing a lawsuit, serving the lawsuit, attending the hearing, getting a judgment, and having the Constable evict them. The law was meant to protect both tenants and landlords from "unwanted houseguests," but it seems the consequences may be more far-reaching than that.

Potential problems with this new law: Are police officers now responsible to determine whether someone is on a lease or not before throwing them out? This itself could lead to a host of problems. (As per the previous law, if you called a police officer to come kick someone out of your house, they would have told you to go through the courts, and that there was nothing they could do.) Another potential problem: What about verbal agreements? Many landlords don't have written leases with tenants.

To read the full story, click here.

Apr 21, 2015

Does an eviction judgment appear on a tenant's credit report?

It is a common misconception that when you get an eviction judgment against your tenant, it automatically appears on their credit report. However, this is not the case. The judgment is public record, and a diligent background checker will find it, but the only way to ensure the judgment appears on someone’s credit report is to record it with the county. Once this happens, it will appear on their credit report as a monetary judgment, but there won’t be any indication that it was also an eviction judgment.

Ideally, a background check will reveal the eviction judgment even without it being recorded with the county. If you are a landlord, you should always perform background checks on prospective tenants. If you would like to be referred to a company who can help you with this, contact our firm and we will give you their contact information.

However, for more everyday occurrences that don’t require a full-blown background check (like applying for a credit card or loan), having a blighted credit report can make life difficult, even if it doesn’t specify that it is an eviction judgment. The judgment will be valid for five years, and if you file an Affidavit of Renewal with the court/recorder before the end of that time, it will be valid for another next five years as well. The defendant can get the judgment removed from his credit report at any time – all he has to do is contact the plaintiff and pay off the judgment.*


*If your former tenant has paid off the judgment, it is your responsibility to get that judgment satisfied, both with the court and the recorder’s office. The judgment should be satisfied immediately after payment in full is received.

Apr 13, 2015

Arizona Landlords Should Provide Receipts

I once heard a news story on the radio about some doctors living in a tiny village in Africa, studying the effects of consuming dirty water. The village had a little well that everybody used. Once the doctors got there, they set up a little station by the well with water purification tablets. After you dropped a tablet in your water, you had to wait a few minutes and then the water would be safe to drink. The doctor being interviewed said that not all of the villagers took advantage of these tablets, even though they were free and available to everybody. “Sometimes I don’t even take the time to use a tablet,” the doctor admitted.

                Why would someone not do something that takes less than five minutes, and will save him an immeasurable amount of stress and inconvenience down the line? As a real estate law firm who handles evictions all day every day, our “water tablets” are receipts.

                If you are a landlord, you should be keeping track of all payments from your tenant, and providing a receipt for each payment received.

If you are a tenant, you should be keeping track of all payments to your landlord, and asking for a receipt for each payment tendered.

                Receipts keep everyone on the same page. If you end up having to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, and you have kept an accurate ledger, you will have a much easier time evicting your tenant than a landlord who is giving it his best guess, and doesn’t have any documentation to back up his claim.


                Don’t be the doctor who isn’t using his own water tablets. Receipts are your friend. 

Apr 9, 2015

Free: Eviction Notices & Landlord Forms

The first step in virtually any eviction is to send a notice to your tenant, letting them know there is an issue with their tenancy. This can be nonpayment of rent, a breach of lease (e.g., letting someone live there who isn't on the lease, or dumping garbage in the front yard), or terminating a month-to-month lease.

Our firm provides form notices for all of the above, and more. We don't charge any extra to send them when doing an eviction, but some landlords prefer to send the notice themselves. Click below to view the forms we offer.

Serving a notice on your tenant theoretically gives them a chance to fix the problem before it escalates into a lawsuit. The Arizona Landlord-Tenant Act requires a notice to be served before a lawsuit can be filed. The notice needs to be served one of two ways: a) sent via certified mail or b) hand-delivered with signature upon receipt (see A.R.S. § 33-1313). If the notice is not served one of these two ways, the judge can dismiss the case.

Apr 8, 2015

See the New Pima County Consolidated Justice Court

Earlier this year Tucson, Arizona opened the doors of its new courthouse complex. I visited the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court this morning for the first time. I was extremely impressed with the craftsmanship, layout, and . The courtrooms themselves have a classic appearance and thoughtfully planned-out (FYI, eviction hearings are held on the fourth floor).

Kudos to Tucson for taking the time, money, and energy necessary to build such a great complex. I give the city extra points for locating the new courthouse downtown with convenient access to public transportation.  


View of the entrance to the new Pima County Consolidated Justice Court in downtown Tucson, AZ.




The 240 N. Stone Avenue marqui.




Looking out the front doors of the new Pima County Consolidated Justice Court you can see downtown Tucson's skyline.


Above is a pictures of what the old Pima County Consolidated Justice Court looked like. It was old, outdated, and poorly designed. Like I said, a major improvement!