File in Superior Court if Unpaid Rent Exceeds $10,000

Before you can file an eviction lawsuit, you must serve your tenant with the proper form of notice.  If you haven’t served your tenant with a notice and would like us to prepare and serve your notice,  follow this link.  If you have already served your tenant with a notice and you are seeking unpaid rent and late fees exceeding $10,000 the eviction lawsuit must be filed in Superior Court.

Note that even if your unpaid rent and late fees exceed $10,000 you may want to consider filing the case in Justice Court rather than Superior Court.  Why?  It depends on whether or not you can collect a large judgment against your former tenant after you get it.  You get two things with an eviction judgment.  First, you get possession of your property.  The second component of the judgment is a sum of money the former tenant is ordered to pay.  You can get possession back in a Justice Court case for less money than you can in a Superior Court case.  If you don’t think it will be possible to collect on a judgment of any size against your tenant you might as well file your eviction in Justice Court and save yourself some money.

On the other hand,  if you have evidence which indicates you could collect a $10,000 plus judgment against your former tenant, you should file in Superior Court.  We regularly see unpaid rent and late fee totals in excess of $10,000 in cases involving the rental of luxury homes.  For example, we handled an eviction for a client who entered into a six month lease with tenants on a luxury home in Scottsdale.  The tenants had just sold their home in Scottsdale and were in the process of building a new home, also in Scottsdale.  Rent was $3,500 a month, with a $350 monthly late fee.  When the tenants moved in, they gave the landlord a check for $8,750.00, which represented the first month’s rent and a security deposit.  The check cleared, but that was the only check the tenants ever paid the landlord for rent.  The tenants had various plausible excuses for missing the first rent payment.  The landlord and tenants “negotiated” over the unpaid rent for two months, with several promised payment dates missed.  The third time the tenants failed to pay rent required by the lease, the landlord contacted us.  At that point, the landlord’s damages for unpaid rent and late fees totaled $11,550.00.

In this case it made sense to file in Superior Court because both the husband and wife tenants had a good jobs and were in fact building a new house in Scottsdale as they claimed.  These were good indicators that the judgment could be collected, if necessary.  So, before filing an eviction lawsuit in Superior Court we recommend evaluation of the tenant’s ability to pay the judgment once you win.

Our advance fee for a Superior Court eviction is $1,000.  The advance fee covers preparation of the summons and complaint,  the court filing fee,  service of process and appearance at the initial court hearing on your behalf.  Note that the Superior Court filing fee in the Phoenix metropolitan area is $301.  If your tenant demands a trial,  there is an additional fee of $500 for the trial and each subsequent court appearance after the initial hearing.  Few Superior Court eviction cases go to trial.

How to Retain Us to Represent you on an eviction case

Read the information below about the evidence we need from you before we can file the eviction lawsuit.  Then read the terms of engagement, below.  The engagement describes exactly what we will do for you.  If the terms of engagement are acceptable, click on the “Submit” button at the end of this page and it will take you to our store.  After check out, we will send you an email with instructions on how to submit your evidence to us and how the case will proceed.  The submit button at the very bottom of this form takes you to our payment page.  Most clients pay by credit card, but it is possible to pay by check.