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Jan 31, 2018

What is a 26.1 Initial Disclosure Statement?


Rule 26.1 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure requires both parties of a law suit to exchange Initial Disclosure Statements. These disclosure statements are often referred to as "Rule 26.1 Statements" or "Rule 26.1 Disclosures" for short.

Rule 26(d)(1) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure requires that the disclosure statement is provided to the opposing party within forty (30) 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.

What Must 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 either party discovers new information after having shared an initial 26.1 disclosure statement then they are required to provide an "amended" disclosure statement with the opposing party.

If you have questions about how we can help you with your real estate litigation needs then email me at cdunaway@davismiles.com or call 480-344-4035.


Jan 30, 2018

Refunding a Tenant's Security Deposit

How to Properly Handle a Tenant's Security Deposit

Per A.R.S. § 33-1321(D) of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, a landlord must send a disposition of deposit letter to the former tenant within 14 business days. If the cost of the damage doesn’t exceed the deposit, the remainder of the deposit should be included. On the other hand, if the cost of the damage exceeds the deposit, this is your chance to state how much they owe you.

This letter needs to be sent within fourteen business days from the date your tenant vacated the property or the landlord can be subject to civil penalties.

If lawsuit arises in which a tenant claims their security deposit was kept unlawfully, and you didn’t send this letter, you could be at risk for “treble damages” – that is, three times what you kept unlawfully A.R.S. § 33-1321(E). Sending this letter goes a long way towards making sure all your bases are covered.

Our firm offers a free form letter which you can fill in and send to your tenant, or use as a template to create your own. Click here to download this form letter.

In cases where the tenant was evicted for nonpayment of rent, you can keep the deposit to cover the judgment amount, but you will still need to send a letter informing your tenant of such.  Additionally, if you have a judgment for unpaid rent, and there are a lot of damages to the property, you don’t have to put the deposit towards the judgment – you can still use it to cover the damages, and then pursue the judgment amount using wage garnishment or bank levy, which you can read about here.

If you need the help of an Arizona landlord - tenant attorney then give us a call at 480-344-4035 or email cdunaway@davismiles.com.

Jan 11, 2018

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 or cdunaway@davismiles.com