Eviction

questions & answers

Question: We are 2 months behind rent minus 100$. he shut off electricity. What should we do

Answer: There are two separate issues here. The first issue is that under Arizona law tenants are required to pay their rent in full and on time. When a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord has the right to go to court to seek that tenant’s eviction (it is called a “special detainer” action here in Arizona). If a landlord wants to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent, the landlord must give the tenant written notice specifying that the tenant has five days to pay the rent or eviction proceedings will begin (A.R.S. 33-1368(B)). It is important to note that the landlord is not required to accept partial payment. If, however, after the tenant has received written notice, the landlord chooses to accept only part of the total amount of the rent that is owed, the landlord by doing so gives up the right to terminate the rental agreement for the rest of that month – unless the landlord receives from the tenant a signed written waiver permitting the landlord to proceed with the eviction if the rest of the amount of the rent that is owed is not paid by a specified date (A.R.S. 33-1371). The second (and related) issue is that under Arizona law landlords are not permitted to engage in what are called “constructive evictions” (attempted evictions not involving “special detainer” actions undertaken through the formal court system). A landlord who attempts on his/her own to physically evict a tenant – including by deliberately removing or diminishing the tenant’s utilities – is breaking the law (A.R.S. 33-1367). A landlord may discontinue such services only after a judge has granted an eviction (A.R.S. 33-1368). Ordinarily, a tenant who is the victim of a “constructive eviction” can go to court to have the discontinued services restored and to recover from the landlord either two months’ rent or twice the actual damages sustained by the tenant (whichever is greater). In situations in which both the tenant and the landlord are in breach of their obligations, it is always recommended that they try to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement in writing.

QUESTIONS

  • We are 2 months behind rent minus 100$. he shut off electricity. What should we do

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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