Eviction

questions & answers

Question: I agreed to let two people live with me but they don't pay rent or any bills. I can no longer afford the bills it's them there. They were supposed to leave on the 20th. Now they are leaving windows open increasing my bills. Can I lock them out? They have not received mail.

Answer: When the question involves whether and how a person may be evicted, an important distinction is whether that person is a tenant or a guest. Under Arizona law, if the person is (or could be considered to be) entitled by a rental agreement – even just an oral agreement – to occupy the dwelling, then that person is a tenant (A.R.S. 33-1310(16)) who thus has a right to be provided with 30 days advance written notice (A.R.S. 33-1375). Providing a person with 30 days notice is always the safest option. If the person is, in fact, a tenant, then only a judge can order that person’s eviction, and locking that person out before the rental agreement has terminated – for example, after 30 days has elapsed since receipt of a 30-day notice – will be unlawful unless and until the landlord first goes through the formal process of sending of a 5-day notice to the tenant, then filing a detailed eviction complaint with the court, then serving that complaint and a summons on a tenant, then convincing the judge to grant an eviction. Locking someone out – without the permission of a judge – is almost always a bad idea.

QUESTIONS

  • I agreed to let two people live with me but they don't pay rent or any bills. I can no longer afford the bills it's them there. They were supposed to leave on the 20th. Now they are leaving windows open increasing my bills. Can I lock them out? They have not received mail.

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