Oddly enough I love analyzing "big-data" and looking at the patterns that form. In Arizona, there is a distinct patter in the number of evictions that take place year over year in a given month. For instance, every year there is a huge spike of evictions in January, why is this? I’ve thought about this same question and I feel like I have answers for the patterns that appear year after year.
Contrary to popular believe most landlords are actually nice people who have feelings tooJ I know a lot of landlords who just won’t evict tenants during the holiday season. Beginning with Thanksgiving and going thru New Year’s day landlords will often say, “I don’t want to evict someone during the holiday season and so I’ll just wait until the new year to begin the eviction process.”
Plus, experienced attorneys and property owners know that the judges and constables will do whatever they can to not evict an Arizona resident during the holiday season. As you know, after a judgment has been granted by the court the tenant has five days to vacate. If the tenant doesn’t vacate within those 5 days then we can go back into court and file for a Writ of Restitution. Writs must first be signed by the judge and then delivered to the constable for service.
Judges know that evictions are time sensitive and so they typically sign the order granting the Writ of Restitution almost immediately upon receiving it. However, during the holidays judges are often out of town which means there is no one to sign the writ. Additionally, even when the judges are in the office they are very slow to sign the writs. This is done in an attempt to slow down the actual eviction. Judges “misplace” them or are “too busy” working on other matters to sign the writs immediately. So it can take days before a judge will sign the writ.
Once the writ gets to the Arizona constables there is another big slow down in the eviction process. Similar to judges many constables leave town during the holiday season and so they are not physically able to execute the Writs of Restitution. Furthermore, I have had constables tell me to my face that they won’t execute writs near Thanksgiving or Christmas.
For the reasons mentioned above there has been a build-up of delayed evictions that are then started in January.
I believe that the slump in evictions in February, March, and April are directly correlated to tax refunds. Generally speaking, most people are evicted for non-payment of rent. Someone who is unable to pay rent is typically of modest means, and many people who are of modest means receive monster tax refunds. I remember the first time I passed through those months as an eviction attorney. I didn't know what had happened because the phone stopped ringing from landlords and I was not hearing from our regular property owners - property managers. Sure enough each year when the tax refund season is over then the evictions increase.
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