Eviction

questions & answers

Question: I recently was Evicted from my apartment and locked out by the constable. Unfortunately I was unable to remove all of my belonging and was told I need to return make arrangements with the landlord to get the rest of my things. When I returned i was told that someone must have stolen my things. What do I do? I made a police report, But the property management told me they will not replace any of my things . Can anyone tell me what rights I have and what I should do thank you any help is much appreciated .

Answer: Under Section 33-1368 of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, the landlord must hold the tenant’s personal property for a period of 21 days beginning one day after a writ of restitution issued by the court has been executed by the sheriff or constable, unless the landlord and the tenant agree together to extend the length of that period. It is important that the landlord and the evicted tenant communicate with one another in writing so that both parties have proof of their discussions and arrangements regarding the tenant’s personal property. A.R.S. 33-1368(E) further states that “the landlord shall use reasonable care in moving and holding the tenant’s property and may store the tenant’s property in an unoccupied dwelling unit owned by the landlord, the unoccupied dwelling unit formerly occupied by the tenant or off the premises if an unoccupied dwelling unit is not available. If the tenant’s former dwelling unit is used to store the property, the landlord may change the locks on that unit at the landlord’s discretion. The landlord shall prepare an inventory and promptly notify the tenant of the location and cost of storage of the personal property by sending a notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the tenant’s last known address and to any of the tenant’s alternative addresses known to the landlord. To reclaim the personal property, the tenant shall pay the landlord only for the cost of removal and storage for the time the property is held by the landlord. Within five days after a written offer by the tenant to pay these charges the landlord must surrender possession of the personal property in the landlord’s possession to the tenant upon the tenant’s tender of payment. If the landlord fails to surrender possession of the personal property to the tenant, the tenant may recover the possessions or an amount equal to the damages determined by the court if the landlord has destroyed or disposed of the possessions before the twenty-one days specified in this section or after the tenant’s offer to pay. The tenant shall pay all removal and storage costs accrued through the fifth day after the tenant's offer to pay is received by the landlord or the date of delivery or surrender of the property, whichever is sooner. Payment by the tenant relieves the landlord of any further responsibility for the tenant's possessions.” A.R.S. 33-1368(F) further states that “a tenant does not have any right of access to that property until all payments specified in subsection E of this section have been made in full, except that the tenant may obtain clothing and the tools, apparatus and books of a trade or profession and identification or financial documents including all those related to the tenant's immigration status, employment status, public assistance or medical care. If the landlord holds the property for the twenty-one day period and the tenant does not make a reasonable effort to recover it, the landlord, upon the expiration of twenty-one days as provided in this subsection, may administer the personal property [as if it has been abandoned]...” A tenant whose former landlord fails to fulfill the landlord’s legal obligations to care for the tenant’s property as described above may sue the landlord in court for monetary compensation. If you would like legal advice from an attorney, there are links to free and low-cost legal services on this website (at http://www.azlawhelp.org/accessToJustice).

QUESTIONS

  • I recently was Evicted from my apartment and locked out by the constable. Unfortunately I was unable to remove all of my belonging and was told I need to return make arrangements with the landlord to get the rest of my things. When I returned i was told that someone must have stolen my things. What do I do? I made a police report, But the property management told me they will not replace any of my things . Can anyone tell me what rights I have and what I should do thank you any help is much appreciated .

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