UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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When evicting a tenant, Arizona landlords must follow the proper legal procedures as laid out by the Arizona Revised Statutes. While changing the locks or disconnecting vital services may seem the fastest way to evict unwanted tenants, such acts are illegal in Arizona and carry the possibility of penalties.
Available Arizona Termination Notices
With a couple exceptions, Arizona landlords must terminate a tenancy before bringing court action to evict a tenant. The first exception is that if a lease has expired, the tenancy is terminated without the need for notice (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 33-1375(c)). Second, if a tenant is past due on their rent, a landlord must terminate the agreement by filing a special detainer action. Otherwise, a landlord must serve a termination notice before proceeding with the eviction.
If you have a rental agreement without any specific expiration date, Arizona law requires a particular type of written notice depending on the terms of the tenancy:
Week-to-Week: 10-day notice must be given (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 33-1375(a)).
Month-to-Month: 30-day notice must be given (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 33-1375(b)).
In the case of a lease that hasn't expired yet, Arizona generally allows for termination by the landlord with specific notices in certain cases:
Immediate Termination: In the case of illegal activities, including the discharge of a weapon, murder, gang activity, and illegal drugs, the landlord may terminate the lease immediately.
Demand for Rent: Once rent is past due, the landlord must give notice informing the tenant that if they do not pay in five days, the rental agreement will be terminated by the filing of a special detainer action.
5-Day Material Noncompliance: Tenants not meeting their legal obligations relating to health and safety have 5 days to comply or the lease may be terminated (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 33-1341).
10-Day Material Noncompliance: Tenants in violation of their lease, other than for nonpayment of rent, have 10 days to comply or the lease is terminated. This includes material falsification of rental application information. A landlord does not have to give the tenant an opportunity to remedy if there is a second similar violation during the term of the lease, or the tenant falsified information relating to their prior criminal record, prior eviction record, or current criminal activities.
In Arizona, evictions are handled in the Superior or Justice Courts. Find your local court at the Arizona judicial branch website. Keep in mind that while you may be tempted to simply fill out the forms and try to file the necessary papers to evict your tenant, sometimes things don't work out as easily as you planned. If you are feeling unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, or if you run into any difficulties with the court process, you may wish to hire or consult an Arizona landlord tenant attorney. You can refer to Questions to Ask your Arizona Evictions Lawyer below for help with hiring an attorney.
Self-Help Evictions in Arizona
Self-help evictions are not permitted under Arizona law. If the landlord takes actions such as switching the locks or shutting off utilities, tenants can bring claims against the landlord, and may receive two months' rent or twice the actual damages, whichever is greater (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 33-1367).
Questions to Ask Your Arizona Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?