How Do I Evict Someone Without a Lease in Arizona?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Breakdown of the Eviction Process in Arizona

Why Does the Tenant Not Have a Lease?

Step One: Serving a Written Notice

Step Two: File a Complaint and Lawsuit Summons

Step Three: Tenant is Served

Step Four: Tenant Responds

Step Five: Court Issues Judgment

Step Six: Writ of Restitution

Get Eviction Help from Unbiased Options

As an Arizona property owner, only having tenants with a lease is imperative. Otherwise, you could wind up with someone unreliable who may or may not pay or follow your rental rules.

If you rent to someone without a lease or if they stay on the property after their lease has expired, you can file an eviction notice. The process is relatively long and complex, but it’s also pretty straightforward and easy to follow.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at how to evict someone without a lease in Arizona.

A Breakdown of the Eviction Process in Arizona

Each state has a slightly different process for evicting tenants without a lease. So, it’s imperative to understand how it works in Arizona before filing any documentation with the state.

Also, ensure that as many documents and evidence are ready before you file a claim. At a minimum, you should have proof of ownership of the property, a lease agreement (one signed by the tenant), any evidence that proves the tenant is living there illegally, and your personal documents.

Having these pieces ready beforehand will speed up the eviction process and allow you to stay on top of any communication with the court. You don’t want to lose a case because you didn’t have the right documentation ready and missed a deadline.

Why Does the Tenant Not Have a Lease?

In addition to having the right documents, you must also know why the tenant doesn’t have a lease or is living there without one. For example, maybe the person is a squatter and moved in without your knowledge.

Similarly, the tenant may simply live on the property after the lease expires. Or, if you are renting the unit month-to-month, you may simply decide not to renew the lease next month. In that case, you must give the tenant a 30-day notice to vacate the premises before you can submit eviction paperwork.

Because each situation requires different paperwork, you must know the details before contacting the court.

Step One: Serving a Written Notice

For a written notice to be legal in Arizona, you must deliver it in one of two ways. First, you can deliver it in person or mail the notice to the tenant via certified or registered mail with a return receipt.

For not having a lease, you must supply a five-day notice. This allows the tenant to fix the issue (renew or set up a lease) or move out. Since they don’t have a lease, they can’t fix the issue, so they’ll have to move out within five calendar days.

This process is the same if the person is squatting or overstays their lease. Again, if you’re renting month to month, you have to serve a 30-day notice to vacate instead.

Step Two: File a Complaint and Lawsuit Summons

Once the term of the notice expires, you can file an eviction lawsuit on the next business day. So, if it expires on a Friday, you’ll have to file your paperwork the following Monday.

When filing for an eviction, you must submit a complaint form, a summons form, and a copy of the notice you gave to the tenant. You’ll need to notify each person if there are multiple tenants. You should also make additional copies of each tenant’s complaint and summons form, as necessary.

You’ll file with the Justice Court for claims of $10,000 or less. You’ll file with the Superior Court for claims of $10,000 and more.

Step Three: Tenant is Served

Once you’ve filed your complaint, the court will set an appearance date for you and the tenant. This date will be no more than five judicial (aka business) days after filing the complaint form. However, in cases where you’re filing for material and irreparable breach, the date will be no more than three judicial days.

A process server must deliver the notice of the court date no less than two judicial days before the court date. So, if a court date is on a Tuesday, the server must deliver the summons to each tenant by the Friday before.

The court may dismiss the case if the tenant is not served 90 days after the complaint was filed. However, the court may extend the case if there was “good cause” for the documents not to be delivered.

Step Four: Tenant Responds

Tenants can respond to the property owner’s accusation and eviction notice. The court must receive this response on or before the initial appearance. Responses can include the following:

  • Filing an Answer (i.e., fixing the issue)
  • Filing a Counterclaim and Answer (i.e., making an accusation of the property owner and providing a solution to the problem submitted in the claim)
  • Not Filing an Answer (in this case, the court can dismiss the case and find in favor of the property owner)
  • Filing a Continuance (i.e., the tenant needs more time to build their case)

Responses can be in writing or exist as an oral argument. If the tenant has a valid response (i.e., they didn’t receive an eviction notice), the court will order a trial by a judge.

Additionally, a tenant can file a counterclaim if they believe they’re owed money. These counterclaims include habitability issues, noncompliance, or property owner retaliation.

As a property owner, you can also answer the tenant’s counterclaim, although you must follow the due process to submit your answers through the court.

Step Five: Court Issues Judgment

During the initial appearance, the court will hear both the property owner’s case and the tenant’s answer. If the tenant has no response or legal counterargument, the court will often find in favor of the property owner.

If the judge determines the tenant has a legitimate case and counterclaim, they will send the case to a trial. In some cases, the trial may start that same day or on a different day as determined by the court.

Both parties can also file an appeal. However, if the tenant didn’t show up to the initial appearance or provide a valid answer, they cannot appeal the default ruling.

Step Six: Writ of Restitution

After the judgment is issued, the court issues a writ of restitution. This writ forces the tenant to move out within five calendar days. However, the writ may be for irreparable damage for 12 to 24 hours afterward.

The local sheriff executes the writ and may have to remove the tenant from the property forcibly.

Get Eviction Help from Unbiased Options

Overall, an eviction can take one to six weeks to finalize, so it’s imperative to have a plan of action and be prepared for each step. Unbiased Options can also assist you with this process so you can expedite the eviction as quickly as possible. Contact us today to find out more.

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