On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey signed Executive Order 2020-14, entitled “Postponement of Eviction Actions.” The Executive Order, enacted due to the public health emergency resulting from covid-19, prevented local law enforcement officials from displacing residential tenants from real property pursuant to eviction judgments obtained by landlords for 120 days. To qualify under the Executive Order, a tenant needs to prove one of the following:
(a) the tenant is required to be quarantined based on a covid-19 diagnosis;
(b) the tenant is ordered by a doctor to self-quarantine based on covid-19-like symptoms;
(c) the tenant is required to be quarantined based on someone in the home having a covid-19 diagnosis;
(d) the tenant is at high-risk for contracting covid-19 or suffering from complications from a covid-19 diagnosis; or
(e) the tenant suffered loss of income due to covid-19.
The Executive Order expires on July 22, 2020. Unfortunately, absent further action by Governor Ducey and/or additional government stimulus, experts anticipate a large wave of eviction actions filed by landlords once the Executive Order expires. Up to this point, although some evictions have progressed through the court system and although the Executive Order does not prevent the filing of an eviction lawsuit, many landlords have entered into partial payment agreements with tenants – thereby obviating the need or ability to initiate an eviction action. And, many tenants have been relying on governmental assistance – including stimulus checks – to make their rent payments.
All of this will likely change once the Executive Order expires.
Going forward, it is vitally important landlords follow the law in any attempt to evict a tenant. Arizona law prescribes the specific manner in which a landlord must proceed, depending on the lease violation by the tenant. If the landlord does not proceed appropriately, the tenant may have a defense to the eviction action. There are other defenses that may be afforded to a tenant pursuant to the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act, depending on the specific situation.
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If you have any questions about your specific case, you should consult with a qualified real Arizona estate attorney. You can contact Ben at 602-533-2840.