As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create housing challenges, the CDC-ordered residential eviction moratorium has seen several extensions since September 2020. The moratorium has placed a strain on Arizona landlords, but things may change soon as vaccine distribution becomes widespread and more people return to their jobs. This is what you need to know about the upcoming residential eviction moratorium expiration in Arizona.
Overview of the CDC Residential Eviction Moratorium
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), landlords are prohibited from issuing evictions to tenants who cannot pay their rent due to pandemic-related circumstances. Residential tenants were required to provide declarations of lost or significantly reduced income to their landlords in order to qualify for the protection. Tenants were also required to apply for government financial assistance and make partial rent payments when possible. This was initially a temporary order issued in the spring of 2020 but was extended multiple times as the pandemic continued.
Tenants Can Still Be Evicted for Breach of Lease
The CDC residential eviction moratorium applies to nonpayment of rent but does not extend to all breaches of lease agreements. Therefore, tenants who are in violation of their leases can still be evicted before the moratorium expires in July. Examples of lease breaches include the following:
- Tenant has remained on property after the lease term has ended.
- Tenant has failed to maintain rental premises.
- Tenant has kept unauthorized pets or guests on the premises.
Landlords Can Execute Evictions Once the Moratorium Expires
Arizona landlords have filed 30,000 evictions during the pandemic but have not been allowed to execute due to the moratorium. However, once the moratorium expires, tenants can be removed from their homes if they cannot pay the back rent accrued during the months of the moratorium. Local housing associations are advocating for tenants and landlords to work together on payment plans, as well as using rental aid funding to help both sets of people. Experts predict the courts will flooded with eviction cases at the expiration of the moratorium.
Violations of the Moratorium can Result in Fines, Jail Time
Until the moratorium expires, landlords cannot remove tenants from their properties in violation of the Moratorium. Landlords can file eviction lawsuits under the moratorium, but most will be dismissed. Per the terms of the MoratoriumLandlords in violation of the moratorium may be subject to a fine of up to $100,000, one year in jail, or both; the fine increases to $250,000 if the violation results in the death of a tenant. Organizations found to be in violation of the moratorium may be subject to a fine of up to $200,000 per violation, or up to $500,000 per violation if the violation results in a death.
The Moratorium Is Set to Expire on July 31st
The original CDC residential eviction moratorium first took effect in September 2020 as pressure mounted from both renters with no way to pay their landlords and from landlords themselves, who were still required to make their monthly mortgage payments. Extensions were made continually with the latest moving the end date from June 30th. In the final few weeks of the latest moratorium extension, renters and landlords alike await guidance from lawmakers regarding another potential extension of the residential eviction moratorium. The current moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month on July 31, 2021.
Find An Experienced Arizona Real Estate Attorney
If you are a property manager, owner, or landlord with a tenant impacted by COVID-19, or a tenant facing eviction, M&G can help you navigate these rapidly changing requirements to the eviction laws and procedures in Arizona. Our attorneys can represent you throughout the entire process and assist with all negotiations if needed. Contact us today at (602) 562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.