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Arizona Civil Legal Needs Community Survey

Civil legal organizations in Arizona are seeking your input to increase their ability to meet the civil legal needs of Arizona's lower income residents. Please complete this survey to assist in improving civil legal services in Arizona.

Encuesta de Necesidades Legales Civiles de Arizona

Las organizaciones legales civiles en Arizona buscan su opinión para aumentar su capacidad de satisfacer las necesidades legales civiles de los residentes de bajos ingresos de Arizona. Por favor complete esta encuesta para ayudar a mejorar los servicios legales civiles en Arizona.
This information does not apply to mobile home park evictions, recreational vehicle park evictions, and certain subsidized housing. Below is information that may be helpful to you but is not a substitute for legal advice. There are other rules and laws that may be applicable to your situation, but these are common rules and laws that apply in eviction actions.

Content provided can also be found at

A.R.S. means Arizona Revised Statutes and RPEA means Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions.
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1. Notice

  • The landlord must give the tenant written notice that rent is unpaid.  The rental agreement will end if rent is not paid in 5 days. A.R.S. § 33-1368(B).
  • In an action for non-payment of rent, landlord cannot file the eviction action until after the final day of the notice.
  • The eviction must be dismissed if the tenant did not receive:
    • A notice that rent has not been paid; and
    • A chance to pay the rent with the late fees. RPEA 13(a)(2)
  • If the notice given to the tenant does not follow the law or was not properly served, the court must dismiss the eviction action. RPEA 13(a)(2).
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2. Complaint and Service

The following must be served with the eviction notice:

  • A copy of the lease
  • Any addendums related to the cause for the eviction
  • 6 months of accounting records showing charges and payments

Generally, an eviction action summons and complaint must be served by a constable or sheriff in one of two ways:

    1. personally served on the tenant, or
    2. posted in an obvious place and mailed to the tenant by certified mail. RPEA 5(f)

3. Answer

  • The tenant may file a written answer or answer orally in open court on the record. If the court sets a trial date, the tenant may be ordered to file a written answer.  RPEA 7.
  • If you cannot afford the filing fee, ask the clerk for a fee waiver/deferral application.  If approved, you will not have to pay the fee.
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4. Reinstating the Rental Agreement

  • If the eviction is only for non-payment of rent, the rental agreement will be reinstated if the tenant pays:
    • All past due rent;
    • Late fees;
    • Attorney fees; and
    • Court costs before judgment is entered. A.R.S. § 33-1368(B).
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5. Defenses

  • The tenant paid rent in full and on time (provide proof of payment to the court).
  • The landlord accepted rent, or a part of rent, (knowing that the tenant was in default) without having the tenant sign a written statment explaining the terms and conditions of accepting the payment. A.R.S. § 33-1371, RPEA 13(a)(4). This defense applies even if part of the rent is paid by a religious organization, community action agency, non-profit, friend, family member, or anyone else.  This does not apply if the payor had a contract with the landlord and is:
    • A government agency;
    • Housing authority;
    • Agent for government agency/housing authority; or
    • Agent for a for-profit organization.
  • The tenant made repairs to the unit after notifying the landlord that they would do so at the expense of the landlord. The tenant gave the landlord an opportunity to make repairs. The tenant hired a licensed contractor to do the work. The tenant provided a lien waiver signed by the contractor; proof of payment for the completed work and supplies; and list of work performed to the landlord.  The tenant then subtracted the actual and reasonable costs of the work from the rent due (up to $300.00 or half the monthly rent, whichever is greater). A.R.S. § 33-1363.
  • The tenant does not pay rent or pays less than what the landlord is claiming because the tenant is in subsidized housing. See Legal Info Sheet: Eviction Actions: Section 8 (Section 8, tax credit, etc.).

6. Trial

  • The tenant has a right to a trial if the court determines that the tenant MAY have a defense or proper counterclaim. RPEA 11(b)(1).
  • Unless written and signed in the lease, the tenant may have a right to a jury trial, but must ask for it the first time they see the judge. The judge will then decide if there are factual matters to be determined by a jury. If there are no factual matters right for a jury, the case will be heard by the judge. RPEA 11(d).
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7. Evidence and Testimony

  • Evidence and testimony must be relevant to the proceeding.
  • A witness must testify from personal knowledge – the witness telling the court what somebody else told the witness is generally not allowed.
  • Both sides have a duty to make objections in a timely manner. If a witness testifies to something they did not see/hear for themselves or if the testimony is not relevant to what the landlord claiming, tell the judge you object to the testimony or evidence.  For example, the landlord served you for not paying rent and the witness is talking about how loud you are as a neighbor.
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8. Judgment

  • Default judgment may be entered against the tenant if the tenant does not show up to court when the case is called by the judge. RPEA 13.
  • Stipulated judgment – the tenant agrees that the claims in the complaint are true and judgment is entered against them. The tenant cannot offer a defense and cannot appeal this judgment.
  • The judge may award the landlord possession of the property plus:
    • Rent;
    • Late fees (if there is a written rental agreement);
    • Attorney fees;
    • Court costs; and
    • Other damages (if there is a legal and factual basis to award these damages).
  • See Legal Info Sheet: Eviction Actions: After an Eviction Judgment for important information if the judge rules against you.