Immediate Eviction For Criminal Activity or Property Damage

Arizona law enables a landlord to file an immediate eviction if a tenant engages in certain types of criminal conduct on the premises.  The law identifies the following crimes:  discharging a weapon,  homicide,  prostitution,  gang activity,  drug possession,  drug sales,  drug manufacturing,  threatening or intimidating,  assault and criminal nuisance.  The law also says eviction for criminal conduct is not limited to this list of crimes.  So, presumably if you caught your tenant engaging in some other type of criminal activity on the property you could seek an immediate eviction.  A better way to insure that you can always evict a tenant who engages in any type of criminal activity is to include a “Crime free” addendum with your lease, or incorporate “crime free” language in the body of your lease.  “Crime free” language can make it possible to evict for any criminal conduct by your tenant, committed on or off the property.  Our residential lease incorporates crime fee language in the body of the lease.

The advantage of crime free language in a lease compared to just relying on the law,  is that with good crime free language in your lease you can evict a criminal from your property even if the tenant commits crimes somewhere else.  For example, a client rented to a man arrested for a string of drug sales in the Phoenix area.  None of the drug sales occurred at the rental.  Under the Arizona landlord/tenant act the landlord would not have been able to evict this tenant as long as the tenant paid rent.  The landlord had crime free language in the lease which allowed him to evict the tenant.

It’s also possible to file an immediate eviction if a tenant’s conduct jeopardizes the health, safety and welfare of the landlord, the landlord’s agents or another tenant.  If you want to attempt an immediate eviction for threats by the tenant, the threats must be explicit and direct, such as “If you come here and ask me to inspect the place one more time, I’m going to have my home boys mess you up.”  They can’t be vague or indirect such as “I hate landlords.”  It is also helpful in the case of threats to have another witness to the threats.  Expect an immediate eviction cases based on threats to go to trial.  You and your witness should be prepared for the possibility of a trial in which the angry tenant is sitting near you in the court room.

An immediate eviction can also be filed against a tenant who threatens to cause, or has caused serious property damage.  These cases are more likely to succeed if the tenant has already committed some damage and stated an intention to do more damage.  A suspicion that the tenant intends to damage the property if you threaten an eviction is not enough.  A vague suggestion by the tenant that they might commit some damage to the property will probably not support an immediate eviction verdict in the landlord’s favor.  If the tenant has not already damaged the property and you want to attempt an immediate eviction based on threats of damage, you need to have some explicit threats of damage if you insist on enforcing the terms of the lease or tenancy.  For example, if your tenant tells you something along these lines, “If you try to evict me,  it’s going to take you months to get this place ready to lease to somebody else,  after I’m done with it,” you might have the grounds for an immediate eviction.  As with a case based on threats of violence, it is good to have a witness to the threats of property damage.

But as a practical matter an  “immediate eviction”  is not really immediate.  It just happens very quickly compared to other types of evictions.  Instead of a five or ten day notice,  the immediate eviction notice informs the tenant that the tenancy is terminated immediately and that they need to leave the property.  The immediate eviction lawsuit can be filed the same day the notice is served.  The law says the trial date shall be no later than the third day following filing of the complaint.  But,  because of the court’s schedule, immediate cases are set on the next date the particular court hears eviction cases.  Depending on when the case is filed,  in some court’s this can be up to five court days.

After you obtain an immediate eviction judgment, the tenant is ordered out of the property immediately.  If they are still in the property after twelve hours have elapsed from the time of judgment, the landlord can have the writ of restitution issued by the court for service by the constable.  As you can see, an immediate eviction is an extremely accelerated legal proceeding.

Our advance fee for an immediate eviction is $750.  The advance fee includes preparation and service of the immediate eviction notice, preparation of the summons and complaint, court filing fee, service of process and appearance at the initial court hearing on your behalf.  There is a fee of $250 for each additional court appearance.

How to Retain Us to Represent you on an immediate eviction

Click on the “Submit” button below.  This will take you to our online store.  After check out, we will send you an email with instructions on how to proceed with the eviction.