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Evicting a tenant is usually the last recourse for a commercial landlord. Here's a guide to understanding how to handle business evictions in Arizona.

Most landlords have no desire to evict a commercial tenant. They would prefer to allow good businesses to continue being good tenants in their property. However, business evictions might be the best option for a tenant that does not pay rent or continues to cause issues for other tenants.

Landlords in Arizona have the right to evict tenants for a variety of reasons. Commercial tenants are no different and can be evicted; but it is important for landlords to understand the laws and process that must be followed before a business eviction can take place.

Here’s what landlords need to know about business evictions in Arizona.

Starting the Business Eviction Process in Arizona

The initial step in any eviction is letting the tenant know that you are terminating the rental agreement with written notice. An early termination of the tenancy will require just cause and/or evidence of a breach of the rental agreement.

There are many causes that do justify an early lease termination in Arizona. A few of the most common examples are: past due rent, clear violations of specific terms of the rental agreement, committing crimes on the property, and creating hazardous conditions of health and safety.

Understanding Tenant Maintenance Obligations in Arizona

Before proceeding with the business eviction process, it is important to understand Arizona law requires tenants to keep certain maintenance standards during the term of their lease.

  • Tenants must keep the property safe and clean, while complying with all building codes in the area.
  • Tenants must dispose of all trash properly and plumbing fixtures must be kept clean. All mechanical systems must be used in a reasonable and responsible manner.
  • Tenants cannot damage any part of the rental purposely or allow anyone else to damage the property.
  • Tenants must notify the landlord in writing of any damage or issues that require repairs.

Types of Notice of Termination with Cause in Arizona

There are five types of notices of termination that apply to different causes:

1.) Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent: For tenants that do not pay their rent on time, the appropriate notice is a five-day notice to pay rent unless the lease provides a different time period. This written notice gives a tenant five days to pay their past due rent in full or move out of the property.

If the tenant elects to move out, the landlord can still pursue a claim in court against the tenant for the full amount due. After five days, the landlord can file a business eviction lawsuit against the tenant if they have not paid the past due amount in full or moved out of the premises.

2.) Notice to Cure for Health and Safety Hazards: For tenants that create a health and safety hazard or fail to maintain the property, the landlord can provide written notice that the issue must be resolved in the time-period required by the lease.

This notice should comply with the lease and require the tenant perform all the required maintenance on the property or move out. The notice should also include as many details as possible about the hazard or maintenance issue. The security deposit can be used to repair any damages if the tenant moves out without fixing the issue, but any funds leftover must be returned to the tenant.

Landlords can also pursue a claim in court for any damages that exceed the amount of the security deposit. In situations where the tenant does not move out or fix the maintenance issue during the cure period, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit or lock out the tenant if the lease permits this remedy. The landlord may also retain the tenant’s property as part of the landlord’s statutory landlord lien.

3.) Notice to Cure: For tenants that violate other provisions of the lease agreement, the landlord can provide a cure notice that complies with the lease. Arizona law requires the notice to explicitly state the tenant has a certain number of days to fix the violation or they must move out. Like the health cure notice, the landlord can use the security deposit to fix any damages or issues if the tenant elects to move out. They can also pursue a claim in court against the tenant for any expenses that exceed the amount of the security deposit. The landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant if the matter is not resolved completely within the cure period or can lock out the tenant if the lease permits this remedy.

4.) Removing Business Tenants in Arizona: A landlord must win an eviction lawsuit against the tenant in order to force their removal from the property in Arizona unless the lease provides a lock out remedy.

The landlord must go back to the court to get a writ of restitution if the tenant has not vacated the property within five days after the eviction lawsuit is finalized. This document can be provided to local law enforcement to physically remove the tenant from the property. It is against the law for the landlord to ever try to forcibly remove a tenant from their property themselves unless the lease provides for or does not prohibit a lock out remedy.

If the lease agreement permits it, commercial landlords can lock out a tenant after the appropriate notice is provided, if past due payments have not been caught up. This is another situation that is important to review with experienced real estate attorneys in Arizona before proceeding with a commercial lockout.

5.) Handling Tenant’s Personal Property After a Business Eviction

The landlord may retain the tenant’s property after changing the locks and hold the property pursuant to the landlord lien statute. The statutory provisions must be followed by the landlord.

Government Resources for Arizona Business Evictions

The state of Arizona has some additional resources for landlords and tenants dealing with the eviction process. The Arizona Judicial Branch has a website for landlord/tenant disputes and eviction actions. You can also get answers to many frequently asked questions about evictions in general at AZCourtHelp.org.

Work with Arizona’s Top Real Estate Law Firm on Business Evictions

Commercial landlords generally just want good business tenants that pay their rent on time and keep the property clean and maintained. When tenants start to cause issues, damage the property or fail to pay their rent, landlords need to understand their options to appropriately and legally respond to the matter.

M&G routinely represents commercial and residential landlords with tenant disputes. Our attorneys can assist in providing the appropriate written notification and pursue a claim in court if necessary. We can guide landlords through the entire business eviction process in Arizona. Contact our experienced real estate attorneys today at 602-562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.

Call us today at (602) 533-2840 for an appointment.