Can you be evicted in Arizona as CDC moratorium ends? Here’s where renters could get help

May 15, 2020; Phoenix, AZ, USA; An eviction notice is served at an apartment in east Phoenix.
Arizona landlords can start evicting tenants for not paying rent again after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to block an extension of the national moratorium.

Almost 120,000 tenants across the state say they are behind on their rent payments, according to the latest Census Household Pulse Survey. About 36,000 Arizona renters say they likely will be evicted.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, put in place last summer to protect renters hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, was extended for 60 days by the Biden administration on Aug. 3 so more federal rental aid could get out to landlords.

But the nation’s highest court ruled the CDC doesn’t have the authority to impose the eviction freeze.

“This moratorium was a lifeline for renters,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of Wildfire, a community action group administering part of Phoenix’s federal rental aid. “It going away now is putting thousands of people at risk, for both becoming homeless and contracting COVID.”

The court’s opinion said “the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”

The most recent CDC moratorium extension was more limited, applying only to evictions in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission. All Arizona counties met that threshold.

“For 18 months, Arizona property owners have been financially decimated by the CDC eviction moratorium, which today was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision with which we agree wholeheartedly,” said Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president and CEO of the Arizona Multifamily Association.

Will Arizona evictions soar immediately?
Celeste Monroe is worried she will be evicted quickly. She’s four months behind on rent for her Mesa home.

“I have been working two jobs trying to catch up,” said the mother of two. “I haven’t been able to figure out rental aid, and my property manager isn’t returning my calls. I don’t have a place to go if we are kicked out.”

Eviction filings by landlords are handled in Maricopa County justice courts. A justice of the peace must approve an eviction, and a constable provides notice to the tenant.

Maricopa County Justice Courts spokesperson Scott Davis said there’s no court scenario that leads to tenants ending up on the street the same day of an eviction. There are several steps in the process that take a week or even a month before a tenant has to move out, he said.

The courts expected an end to the moratorium this summer and have offered training sessions for justices of the peace and other court personnel to prepare.

“We know that eviction case filings over the last 17 months are down about 50% from pre-pandemic,” Davis said. “Will filings bounce back to 100% of the norm? Will they exceed the norm to make up for filings which landlords withheld during the pandemic?


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“Some believe there will be a large flood of case activity. Others believe it will be just a light sprinkle which builds gradually over time. It’s up to landlords.”

LeVinus said the multifamily association has “strongly encouraged its members to keep working with residents to avoid evictions in every possible instance. We hope they will continue to do so, as they have for 18 months.”

Pamela Bridge, director of advocacy and litigation at Community Legal Services, said her biggest concern about the moratorium ending is for people who already have an eviction judgment against them.

“If their landlords apply for a writ, it can be issued in five days, and that leaves families scrambling to find a place to live in less than a week,” she said.

Community Legal is hosting a free webinar at noon Sept. 1 to help tenants facing eviction know their rights.

Phoenix-area evictions:Why landlords still filed for almost 30,000 during pandemic

Help with rent payments
The Biden administration extended the moratorium multiple times this year so nearly $46 billion in federal aid could get to landlords with tenants who couldn’t pay because of the pandemic.

Arizona has received more than $900 million to help renters and landlords this year, enough to pay off all rental debt in the state, according to estimates.

But most of the aid hasn’t been spent yet, and thousands of applications are still pending.

Housing advocates cite burdensome documentation requirements for the slower-than-expected pace of getting out the rental aid.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced new policies to get the funds out faster. Those include allowing households to self-attest for eligibility for the programs instead of being required to provide documentation of financial hardship and income.

Also, landlords of renters facing eviction can receive an early advance on expected financial assistance they or their renters apply for.

“People are pushing hard to get rental aid out to the many renters and landlords who desperately need it,” Zwick said. “Organizations are hiring more people and working on requirements to do the best they can.”

Davis said if a landlord and tenant decide to try to get rental aid during the eviction court process, the case will be granted a stay or delay.

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Advice for Arizona renters
Bridge said besides getting rental aid immediately, there are other protections for struggling renters now that the moratorium has expired.

Check to see if your landlord has a mortgage forbearance. Until the end of September, there’s still a moratorium on evictions for rentals with five units or more that are under federally backed forbearance agreements. Tenants can find out if they are in a rental covered by this eviction ban on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s web site.

Check to see if your landlord has a federally backed mortgage. Tenants of rentals financed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, FHA or the VA don’t have to move out for 30 days after their landlord gets an eviction writ or notice to vacate. Renters can research this in property records and on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac websites.

Did your landlord accept rental assistance in the last 30 days? Most rental aid programs require property owners not to evict a tenant for 30 days after receiving the money. Renters can contact groups administering the funds for this information. A list of Arizona rental aid programs with contact information is available at

Is your landlord charging you for rent between March 27, 2020, and July 24, 2020? The CARES Act prohibits landlords with federally backed mortgages or with tenants with federal subsidies from charging penalties or late fees for unpaid rent during that timeframe. Contact Community Legal to fight this type of eviction.

Are you able to pay any rent? If your landlord has not filed a court complaint against you, by paying any amount of rent that your landlord accepts, an eviction is prohibited.

Bridge advises renters who already have an eviction filed against them but were previously protected by the CDC moratorium to watch for notices of a court hearing that could be scheduled soon.

Reach the reporter at or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @catherinereagor.

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AUTHOR: Catherine Reagor

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