Dec 9, 2016

Why Hire a Property Manager?

Benefits of Using a Property Management Company
They can save you time and aggravation. Collecting rents, finding new tenants, making maintenance repairs, etc. are time consuming. Use high quality lease agreements. Make sure that leases are property completed.

Screen Potential Tenants
One of the biggest mistakes landlords make is by not properly screening potential new clients. It is important to properly screen them by doing background checks, credit checks, and criminal background checks. Make sure you don't rent to someone who has been evicted before! Many people are chronic poor renters 

Collect Rents
They will collect the monthly rents from tenants. Send out 5 - day notices for non-payment of rent. Charge late fees when rents are paid late. They can act as a buffer between you and the tenants. Landlords creating a personal relationship with the tenants is a common mistake that I see. When a personal relationship exists it can be easy to 

Property Maintenance
Problems are a natural part of renting. There will be toilets that clog, sinks that flood, roofs that leak. Period inspections of the property. I have seen many clients who are severe hoarders. We've found tenants who were to have 2 dogs living at a property and they end up with 22 dogs! I've also had landlords who have found that while there were 2 tenants authorized to live in the property there were 22 people living in the rental property!

Inspections
Property managers perform move-in inspections on behalf of landlords. It is very wise to go to a  For your protection it is very important to perform a move-out inspection. 

Property managers can also perform in-person periodic inspections. A periodic inspections are performed while a tenant is living in the property. This gives the a landlord the opportunity to know what is going on in the property. If there are serious problems then this will give you the opportunity to resolve potential issues before the tenant vacates the property. A periodic inspection should be performed prior to renewing leases.

Tenant Placement
A good Arizona property management company can advertise your vacant properties across a 100+ different platforms. Let them help you find better tenants, faster. 

RentVest Property Management Services
RentVest Property management is an Arizona property management company helping landlords across the state.

Rentvest will handle every aspect of your property management. You will be able to reach a property manager 24/7 to help with any emergencies. They use technology to keep landlords informed of repairs, rents collected, and so on. For more information on how they can help manage your rental property, call 480-283-4425, or visit them online at www.rentvest.co.

Nov 22, 2016

What is a 26.1 Initial Disclosure Statement?


Rule 26.1 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure requires both parties exchange an initial disclosure statement. These disclosure statements are often referred to as "Rule 26.1 Statements" or "Rule 26.1 Disclosures" for short.

Rule 26.1 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure requires that the disclosure statement is provided to the other party within forty (40) days of the defendant filing an answer. These statements are not filed with the court but simply shared with the opposing party. Many years ago Arizona courts decided to do what they can to help avoid "trial by ambush". That is, that want parties to share whatever information that exists with the opposing party. In theory this is supposed to increase the likelihood of parties settling without court intervention.

The Rule 26.1 disclosure statement must contain:
  1. A list of all possible trial witnesses. Note, just because a person is listed it does not mean that they must later testify. It simply gives the opposing party notice that you may be interested in having this person testify at the trial and what they may be testifying about.
  2. A list of other people with knowledge. This list is to include all persons who will not be called as trial witnesses, but who have information that may be pertinent to the subject of the lawsuit.
  3. Statements. Each party to the lawsuit must provide a list of any written or recorded statements within their possession to the other party. 
  4. Copies of exhibits and information. Each party must disclose all documents or exhibits they wish to use to support their claim or defense. Including any electronically stored documents. 
  5. List of all other Documents. This list must include all other relevant documents that are known to exist, regardless of whether or not they are favorable to your case. 
If a party discovers new information after having shared an initial 26.1 disclosure statement then you are required to provide an "amended" disclosure statement with the opposing party.


Nov 2, 2016

Intentional Destruction of Rental Property- A.R.S. 33-322

Section 33-322 of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act states in part; "Removal or intentional and material alteration or damage of any part of a building, the furnishings thereof, or any permanent fixture, by or at the instance of the tenant, without written permission of the landlord or his agent, is a class 2 misdemeanor."

Essentially, the Arizona Landlord-Tenant Act says that if your Arizona tenant intentionally damages your property they may potentially be arrested and charged with a crime. Often when I am speaking with Arizona landlords they express the fear of a tenant trashing their property. The good news is that rarely do tenants intentionally damage a property out of spite. Though tenants often damage properties because of how careless and dirty they are while living in the home.

However, if things with your tenant are so bad you think they may intentionally trash your rental property then call us right away! Call 480-344-4035 to speak with an experienced Arizona eviction attorney today.

Sep 23, 2016

Recording Eviction Judgments in Arizona

When a landlord obtains a judgment against someone, many people think it automatically go on their "record," or credit report, but this isn't always the case. The eviction judgment is a matter of public record, but the only way to guarantee that a judgment will show up on a credit report is to record the judgment with the county. The judgment will stay recorded until the debt is paid, it expires, or the debtor files bankruptcy.

Most Arizona evictions occur in a Justice Court. In order to record the judgment with the county, a certified copy of the judgment must be sent to the Arizona Superior Court to receive a new case number. Once a Superior Court judgment has been established a certified copy can be recorded with the appropriate county. Each of these steps requires a filing fee--as of 2016 the total fees are just over $100.

The judgment will remain on the credit report until it is paid, or for as long as the judgment is valid. In Arizona judgments are automatically valid for 5 years. However, a credit can renew the judgment which will extend it's life for another 5 years. If the debt is paid in full then the creditor must file a satisfaction of judgment with the county to demonstrate that he debt has been paid in full.

In summary, here are the main things to know when recording a judgment with an Arizona county.

  • The only way to ensure a judgment shows up on a credit report is to record it;
  • If the judgment is paid in full then the creditor MUST file a satisfaction of judgment with the court and then with the county recorder;
  • If not paid, the judgment will remain valid for 5 years, and possible an additional 5 years if it is renewed.
If you have questions about eviction judgments call us at; 480-344-4035.

Sep 21, 2016

Properly Completing an Arizona Lease Agreement

If you are an Arizona landlord it is extremely important that you take the time to properly complete the residential lease agreement. One of the important things you need to watch for is blank spaces in the lease agreement. The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act says that if any of the blank spaces are left empty this is a material breach of the lease agreement. A material breach of the lease agreement by the landlord would allow the tenant to unilaterally terminate the lease agreement! Don't let this happen to you.

A.R.S. 33-1324(A)(6) states in pertinent part; "...A written rental agreement shall have all blank spaces completed. Noncompliance with this subsection shall be deemed a material noncompliance by the landlord...of the rental agreement."

Aug 3, 2016

Registering Your Arizona Rental Property with the County

Arizona requires landlords to register their rental properties with the county assessor's office. Any changes to the property owner's contact information must be updated with the county within 10-days. Once the rental property has been registered with the county they reserve the right to perform periodic inspections.

The maximum penalty for renting an unregistered rental property is $1000, plus $100 per month until the law is complied with. Additionally, if an Arizona rental property is registered with the county as a rental the tenant can terminate the lease with a ten-day notice and all security deposits must be returned! See A.R.S. 33-1902(C).

Registering a rental property with the county is pretty painless. For example, if the rental property is in Maricopa County they provide a form that asks some basic information. They request basic property information such as; parcel number, street address, ownership information, and statutory agent information if applicable. A statutory agent is someone who is authorized to accept service of notices or lawsuits on a landlord's behalf. Maricopa county requires a statutory agent for all property owners who live out of state. You can reach the Maricopa county assessor's office by clicking HERE.

Aug 2, 2016

Bankruptcy and Arizona Evictions

What Should You do if a Tenant Files Bankruptcy?

If you receive a notice from the bankruptcy court that a tenant you are trying to evict has filed bankruptcy then stop the process! Bankruptcy law is very complicated with severe penalties for any creditors seeking to take action against someone who has filed for bankruptcy. If a tenant files for bankruptcy before you have obtained the eviction judgment then you must stop with the eviction lawsuit.

As soon as a person files bankruptcy an "automatic stay of protection" goes into effect. The Automatic stay of bankruptcy is an injunction that stops; garnishments, lawsuits, foreclosure, repossession, evictions, etc. It is the equivalent of a restraining order that prevents creditors from taking collection actions.

The Automatic Stay of Bankruptcy is not Absolute

The automatic stay is not an absolute and landlords are given the right to file a Motion with the bankruptcy court requesting a bankruptcy just to "lift" the automatic stay. By having the automatic stay "lifted", you may begin the eviction process. It takes approximately 30 days for the bankruptcy court to grant permission to proceed with the eviction. If the tenant files an "objection" to the lift-stay motion then a hearing will be set in the bankruptcy court. If a hearing is required then it may be 2 to 3 months before we can get in front of a bankruptcy judge and get permission to continue with the eviction.

Even under the best of scenarios a non-paying tenant who files for bankruptcy can astronomically expensive for the landlord. Don't try and go it alone, call us for help at 480-344-4035.

Jul 27, 2016

Provide Tenant a Copy of Lease the Agreement

Arizona landlord and property managers must make sure to comply with Section 33-1322 of the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act! Failure to comply with this section can have very negative consequences.

Section 33-1322 of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act discuss the "Disclosure and Tender of Written Rental Agreement."

33-1322(A) states in part: "The landlord...shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of each of the following:
  1. The person authorized to manage the premises.
  2. A person authorized to receive court papers and to receive notices and demands.
33-1322(B) requires the landlord to inform the tenant in writing that the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is available on the Arizona department of housing's website.  

33-1322(C) requires the landlord to keep this information current and refurnish the information when requested by the tenant. 

In the event there is a signed and written lease agreement Section "E" of 33-1322 requires landlords to provide a signed copy of the lease to the Arizona tenant. The signed copy of the lease agreement must be provided to the tenants in a reasonable time and must have all of the blanks filled in. 

A landlords failure to provide the tenant a signed copy of the lease agreement is "deemed a material noncompliance by the landlord." A material breach of the lease agreement by a landlord gives the tenants certain rights to sue for damages or even move out of the property without penalty.

So Arizona landlords, do the right thing! Make it a priority to do all of the little things right and it will save you money and time down the road. 

Jul 7, 2016

What is a Writ of Restitution?

Under A.R.S. § 12-1178 a Writ of Restitution can be requested if a tenant remains in possession of a property more than 5 days after an eviction judgment was signed. Once a Writ of Restitution is filed with the court it is first signed by the judge. Once the judge has signed the writ then it is sent to a constable for enforcement (think Sheriff) to remove the tenants from your property. A Constable works for the court and has similar powers and duties to sheriffs.  A Writ can only be filed after an eviction hearing was held and a judgment entered in favor of the landlord. Once a landlord has received a judgment from the court, the tenant in your property has five days to vacate.  If the tenant does not leave voluntarily then the Writ of Restitution can be filed with the court.
Once the Writ of Restitution is filed with the court, it is first signed by the judge and then passed to the Constable for execution. The Constable will then visit the property and physically remove the tenant(s) from the property. Upon arriving at the property, a Constable will give the tenants about 10 minutes to pack a bag and leave the property.  In 11 minutes if the tenants haven’t left then the Constable will drag them out of the property in a headlock.
When Will the Constable Execute my Writ of Restitution?
So you’ve filed a Writ of Restitution and want to know when the Constable will actually appear and evict your tenants? The time frame can vary wildly.
When the Writ of Restitution is initially filed with the Justice Court the filing clerk must take the paperwork to the judge for his/her signature. On occasion, the paperwork will immediately be signed and handed off to the constable. Other times, the writ may sit on the judges desk for a few days before being signed. Once the paperwork has been signed it is then passed on to the Constable’s office.
Most justice courts in Arizona only have one Constable. So if the Constable gets a large influx of Writs at the same time yours may be delayed. So all-in-all it can take approximately 3 to 5 days for the Constable to actually show up to the property.  If you would like to know more about Writ of Restitution or have questions about an eviction, please contact Clint Dunaway at (480) 344.4035.

Jun 27, 2016

What is a Rule 121 Disclosure Statement?

In Arizona, Rule 121 of the Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure requires that both parties exchange an initial disclosure statement. These disclosure statements are often referred to as Rule 121 Statements or Rule 121 Disclosures for short.

Rule 121(a) of the Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure requires that the disclosure statement is provided to the other party within forty (40) days of the defendant filing an answer. These statements are not filed with the court but simply shared with the opposing party. Many years ago Arizona courts decided to do what they can to help avoid "trial by ambush". That is, that want parties to share whatever information that exists with the opposing party. In theory this is supposed to increase the likelihood of parties settling without court intervention.

The Rule 121 disclosure statement must contain:

  1. A list of all possible trial witnesses. Note, just because a person is listed it does not mean that they must later testify. It simply gives the opposing party notice that you may be interested in having this person testify at the trial.
  2. A list of other people with knowledge. This list is to include all persons who will not be called as trial witnesses, but who have information that may be pertinent to the subject of the lawsuit.
  3. Statements. A person must exchange a list of any written or recorded statements within their possession with the other party. 
  4. Copies of exhibits and information. A person must disclose all documents or exhibits they wish to use to support their claim or defense. Including any electronically stored documents. 
  5. List of all other Documents. This list must include all other relevant documents that are known to exist, regardless of whether or not they are favorable to your case. 
If a party discovers new information after having shared an initial 121 disclosure statement with the opposing party then they are required to provide an updated disclosure statement. 

Jun 21, 2016

30 Day Notice to Vacate Rental Property

In Arizona, if a tenant doesn't have a written lease agreement or the lease agreement has expired then they are on a month-to-month lease. As such, a landlord can terminate the lease with a 30 day written notice to the tenant. (Make sure you send the 30 day notice via certified mail!) This way a tenant cannot deny that the landlord ever sent the notice.

It can be somewhat confusing as to when the 30 days starts running. It would be logical if the 30 days started from the time it was mailed or the time it was received. However, it's a little more confusing than that.

The 30 days start at the beginning of the next billing cycle. So if rent is due on the 1st of the month then the tenants will have until the end of the month to stay in the property. For example, if a landlord sends the 30 day notice on the 5th of August. The tenants can stay until September 30th! Make sure you factor this unusual system of counting into your plans.


Jun 13, 2016

Atypical Evictions in Arizona

Our law firm is frequently contacted by Arizonans looking for help with an "atypical eviction". There are a few keys ingredients that make up an atypical eviction. The first ingredient in an atypical eviction is the actual person we are trying to evict. Often we are evicting an ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, ex-friend, roommates, adult children, relatives, etc.

For example, if a woman moves into her boyfriend's house, they breakup, boyfriend asks her to leave, and she won't leave--then we must move forward with a formal eviction to get her out of the house.

The second ingredient that makes these situations unusual is that the person requesting the eviction is often living with the person they are seeking to evict. (This must make for some really awkward conversation around the breakfast table). Tensions can become very high in a home where people are living side by side and one of them is trying to evict the other. In these atypical evictions it's not uncommon for one of the residents to obtain a restraining order against the other person.

It is important to note that whether it is a “traditional” Arizona eviction or an atypical eviction as described above, we must always follow the same formal process. There are no shortcuts! So resist the temptation to just lock this person out of your house and throw their belongings into the street. Trying to take any shortcuts with the eviction process can; delay the eviction, cost you money, and create more stress in your life. Do it right the first time and you will be able to get this person out of your life.

How Long Will it Take?

The time it takes to eviction someone from your house depends on a few important variables. One of the most important variables is whether or not there was an agreement for this other person to pay rent. If there was an agreement for this person to pay rent and they were not paying rent then we can send them a typical 5-day notice for non-payment of rent. The entire eviction process for non-payment of rent can take 3 to 4 weeks. So if you have any illusions about your ex-lover/ex-friend/roommate leaving in a day or two you need to re-adjust your thinking.

If there never was agreement for this person to pay rent and there is not a written lease agreement in place then you must send them a 30-day notice to vacate. If they do not leave after the expiration of the 30 days then we can begin the eviction process thru the courts.

If you would like to speak with an experienced eviction attorney then call us at: 480-344-4035.

May 16, 2016

Suing a Tenant For Rent--After They Have Vacated the Property

Relatively speaking, forcible detainer actions--eviction lawsuits--in Arizona are a quick and inexpensive way to obtain a judgment against a tenant. If an Arizona tenant vacates the property prior to the eviction hearing then we are not able to continue to with the lawsuit. You can't try and evict someone when you know they are no longer living in the property.

However, even if the tenant has vacated the property there is still an available remedy to try and seek a judgment against your former tenant. In this situation you may sue the former tenant under a breach of contract. The theory behind this is, a lawsuit existed (the lease agreement) and the contract was broken.

Unlike an eviction lawsuit a civil lawsuit is very slow moving and the attorneys' fees are much more expensive. Depending on many factors; whether the tenants counter-sue, hire legal counsel, are difficult to serve, and an extensive amount of discovery is required the typical case can range between 6 to 16 months! Much longer than the average 21 - 28 days required for a residential eviction.

In 99% of the instances it does not make economic sense to try and sue your former tenant through a breach of contract with a civil lawsuit. It's just not worth the time, expense, and hassle of trying to get a judgment against them. Lastly, don't forget, just because you actually obtain a judgment against your former tenant doesn't mean that you'll be able to collect on it! Often the judgment isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

East Mesa Justice Court - Mesa, Arizona



This morning I was at forcible detainer hearing in the East Mesa Justice Court and realized that I have never written a blog post about this court. The East Mesa Justice Court is located at: 4811 E. Julep Mesa, AZ 85205. Their phone number is 480-985-0188. Like many other courts in Arizona it is located in an otherwise retail strip-mall.

May 12, 2016

Notice of Abandonment - Has the Tenant Left my Property?

Occasionally we receive phone calls from one of our landlord clients because they believe the tenant may have abandoned the property. The landlord has; called, emailed, and texted the tenant but doesn't hear anything back. They landlord may even have driven by the property to see what's going on and not able to reach any definitive conclusion if the property has been abandoned or not.

If you believe the tenant has abandoned the property but aren't sure there is a simple solution. Go to our web page with free Arizona landlord - tenant forms and download the Notice of Abandonment document. Do not just go to the property and change the locks. This can create a lot of problems for you as a landlord if the tenant is in fact still living in the property. Don't take any unnecessary risks and just use the Notice of Abandonment!