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Tenant Laws (Arizona Foreclosures and Tenant Eviction Rights)
Only May 20th 2009 President Obama signed into law the “Helping Families Save Their Home Act of 2009“. This new law gave more rights to tenants in houses being foreclosed upon. Below is a summary of the major changes in the law.
Right to Pre-Eviction Notice
- In Just Cause Eviction Jurisdictions (where good cause for eviction is required): no eviction permitted based on foreclosure. (Az is not a just cause state, see below for AZ evition laws)
- Tenants in non-just cause eviction jurisdictions (Arizona) who live in buildings foreclosed on before May 20th, 2009, have a right to 60 days notice to quit before the new owner is permitted to file an eviction action in court.
- All tenants in buildings foreclosed on after May 20th, 2009, have the following new rights under the “Helping Families Save Their Home Act of 2009”:
- Tenants with a lease have a right to stay in unit until end of lease, although the lease may be terminated on 90 days’ notice by a purchaser who will occupy the unit as his/her primary residence.
- Tenants with expiring or month-to-month leases are entitled to a 90 day notice to quit before the new owner is permitted to file an eviction action in court.
- For Section 8 tenants, foreclosure is not good cause to evict. The new owner must respect existing Section 8 leases and give a 90 day notice to quit to Section 8 tenants with expiring leases. The contract with the Housing Agency remains in effect as to the successor in interest (new owner of the property) after foreclosure.
For renters in buildings foreclosed on by Fannie Mae where Fannie Mae becomes the owner:Fannie Mae will consider renting to tenants of its foreclosed on properties. This includes two- to four-unit properties, condos, co-op, single-family detached homes, and manufactured housing, where the homeowners associations (HOAs) do not prohibit rentals. See full policy at fanniemae.com
Arizona Eviction Process
Notice of Eviction
There are many reasons that a landlord might decide to evict a tenet under Arizona law. The eviction process begins as soon as the landlord delivers a written notice of eviction. In some cases, the tenant has a chance to fix the problem within 10 days, like in the case of a pet violation or some other small infraction. For more serious violations, such as continued failure to pay rent or criminal activity, there is no chance to fix the situation, and the eviction notice can be made out for 24 hours.
Under Arizona law, the eviction process falls under the forcible detainer type of lawsuit. This means that the tenant has been made aware, by hand-delivered, written notice, that she should evict the premises but has failed to do so. Landlords can evict under this type of process for violations such as misrepresenting information when signing the lease, breaking the lease in some way, or failing to pay rent. One cause of a forcible detainer, and the one easiest to amend on the part of the tenant, is for failure to pay rent on time. The landlord should inform the tenant that he will be evicted if he does not pay the rent and any late fees that may be attached. If the tenant fails to pay her rent within five days, the landlord may file suit. If the tenant pays what is due, she should be allowed to remain in her home.
Day in Court
It is not necessary for landlords to come to court with an attorney present, though she can if she wishes to do so. The same holds true for the tenant. If a tenant believes that the landlord owes him money, the tenant can file a counterclaim. Otherwise, she must provide an answer as to why the landlord should not prevail in court. There is a reasonably small fee associated with this action, but if the tenant cannot afford to pay this fee, he can apply for a waiver. The landlord must also pay a reasonably small filing fee. If the tenant fails to show up to court on the specified date of trial, she will likely lose the case automatically. The tenant must plead guilty or not guilty. If he pleads not guilty, he must then plead his case. If the judge finds in favor of the landlord, the tenant must turn over her keys and vacate the premises. If he fails to do so, the landlord can apply for a writ of restitution for repossession of the property within five days. He can also shut down utilities at this time.