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.