An eviction can have a lasting effect on your life. Not only does eviction take away your current housing, but it can also affect your ability to find a place to live or get credit in the future. How long does an eviction stay on your record in Arizona?
This article is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact the Arizona Legal Center (ALC) today to learn more about your rights in your situation. Note that when you first contact the Arizona Legal Center, a law student (and not a practicing attorney) will handle your intake.
What are the basics of Arizona eviction laws?
An eviction (or “special detainer”) is an action taken by a property owner to remove a tenant from their property. Under Arizona law (Title 33-1341 and 1344), tenants are obliged to do more than simply pay rent. You must also:
- Keep the residence clean and safe (inside and out, including disposing of trash)
- Use all systems as intended, including appliances, plumbing, and HVAC systems
- Only use the property as a residence (unless agreed otherwise)
If a tenant violates any of these, the property owner may initiate an eviction. Property owners may also terminate a lease in the following situations:
- Tenant allows an unauthorized guest to live at the property
- A tenant or tenant’s guest commits a crime
- Tenant misrepresents information to property owner
- Any other breach of lease conditions
What is an eviction notice and eviction hearing?
To initiate an eviction, the property owner delivers an eviction notice. The eviction notice terminates the lease agreement and removes the tenant(s) and their family from the property following the notice period.
In most cases, a property owner delivers a notice of immediate termination of the rental agreement. Tenants typically have five days from the date of serving to respond (or five days from the day the property owner hand delivers the notice).
Once an eviction proceeding is initiated, the tenant can offer to pay rent or make reasonable repairs as requested by the property owner. If this does not happen, an eviction hearing is scheduled. The property owner and tenant appear before a judge who listens to their case and makes a ruling.
If the judge rules in favor of the property owner, the tenant must immediately move from the property. For tenants who are not able to remove their belongings immediately, property owners must store them for tenants for 21 days before they may dispose of them (per Title 33-1368).
Don’t tenants have rights, too?
Tenants do have rights in this process. Generally, tenants’ rights laws in Arizona forbid property owners from taking the following actions without a court order to do so:
- Forcibly removing tenants
- Changing the locks on the property
- Removing the tenant’s possessions (but see Title 33-1368 for landlord’s need to hold property for 21 days to allow the tenant to cure the breach before they may dispose of it)
Do note that these actions may be permitted in some circumstances, or local law enforcement may step in when necessary. Always talk to an attorney if you have questions about your exact situation.
- Giving tenant copies of the lease, name of property owner and manager, and a copy of the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act
- Providing access to premises that are up to code, habitable, and with operating electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
- Providing running water (hot and cold)
Tenants generally have three options if the landlord doesn’t meet these conditions.
1. Make the repair themselves
Under certain conditions, tenants may hire a licensed contractor to make needed repairs (Title 33-1363). They can submit the bill to the property owner and deduct the cost from their rent.
2. Give the property owner notice that they are in breach of lease
If the landlord fails to provide or make available essential services, like running water, gas, or electricity, the landlord may be in breach of the lease.
If this occurs, tenants can arrange for their own utilities and deduct reasonable costs from rent, file suit for damages, or find substitute housing and bill the property owner (Title 33-1364).
3. Deliver notice of termination of the lease
If the property owner is in material breach of the lease, the tenant can terminate the lease with ten days’ notice (Title 33-1361). Withholding rent is generally not an option. This could result in an eviction proceeding.
Further, under Arizona law (Title 33-1318), tenants experiencing domestic violence can leave a lease early when they provide written notice and a copy of their order of protection (also known as a restraining order). Members of the military also have special exceptions that allow them to break a lease.
How long does an eviction stay on your record?
As with most adverse credit events (e.g., late payment of credit cards, foreclosures, and bankruptcy), an action of eviction can stay on your credit report for seven years. The clock starts ticking on the date of the eviction judgment.
The positive side of this is that, according to Experian, an eviction may not show upon on a regular credit report.
If an eviction does remain on your credit report for longer than seven years, you will need to write to each company to have it removed.
How to rent with an eviction on your record
It is possible to rent after an eviction. You can do several things. Talking to your old landlord and making restitution can help. They may provide you with a positive reference in return.
Request a free copy of your credit report and work to make it better. If you are able, start using cash instead of adding additional credit to improve your credit score. Work on paying bills every month on time.
Looking for an apartment without a rental record or background check is another option. Renting from friends or moving in with roommates may also be a temporary solution while you get back on your feet.
Volunteer lawyers at the Arizona Legal Center, a free legal clinic, can help. As a tenant, you have rights. We can help you understand what they are. Contact us today.
The Arizona Legal Center provides free legal aid and consultations in Arizona only. We provide low-cost access to fee-for-service cases when determined appropriate by an attorney at the Center, but generally do not undertake full-scope representation.