Corrections & Clarifications: The name of Saratoga Ridge Apartments was incorrect in an earlier version of the article and in an accompanying map.
A relatively small number of landlords have accounted for a large share of eviction filings in Maricopa County, according to a national study.
Based on analysis from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, the 100 property owners and managers with the most eviction filings are responsible for more than one-quarter of the total since the end of June. They are also accountable for more than 20% of all eviction filings since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Del Mar Terrace Apartments and The Cove Apartments, the two properties with the most eviction filings since March 15, 2020, are owned by a single entity, Heers Trust of Nevada and California. That entity is responsible for 707 eviction filings since the start of the pandemic, or almost 7% of the eviction filings among the top 100 properties listed.
Villas de Azul Apartments and The Mod Apartments, the next two properties on the list, are both owned or managed by Western Wealth Capital, which is responsible for 417 eviction filings, or 4% of the total flings for the top 100 properties.
The landlords filing for evictions are generally large property owners who manage dozens of units in west Phoenix, north Phoenix and Tempe.
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For the study, Eviction Lab representatives reviewed eviction filing data from metro areas and counties across the United States.
That “a very small number of evictors make up a large percent of evictions is similar across places,” said Emily Lemmerman, a research specialist with the Eviction Lab.
Landlords have continued filing evictions despite the presence of moratoriums designed to stem the tide of potential evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the reason is that moratoriums have been narrowly defined, applying only to those who have been affected in some way because of the pandemic.
“I think the underlying issue is that people read the news and they see the word ‘moratorium’ and they think that no evictions are allowed to be filed, and that is not what the order says,” said Jesse Cook, an eviction attorney in Maricopa County who represents tenants. “The order says, ‘If you are having a hard time paying your rent because of COVID, and you can demonstrate you have been impacted by COVID, you can submit this declaration and they can’t remove you.”
With the latest moratorium blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, the stage is set for removing tenants from the properties where landlords have filed for evictions — causing concern among tenants and housing advocates as they scramble to obtain rental assistance or find some other solution.
Study confirms research by The Republic
The Eviction Lab study reinforces findings in The Arizona Republic’s investigation of eviction filings in Maricopa County published earlier this year. Many are the same property managers that The Republic highlighted in the June 17 article of landlords with the most filings.
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All eight complexes in The Republic article can be found on the top 100 list from the Eviction Lab of the properties that filed the most evictions since the pandemic began. Of the eight complexes, all but one are on the Eviction Lab’s top 100 list of the properties that filed the most evictions in the past several weeks.
The Republic found that the Del Mar complex at 7007 W. Indian School Road filed more than 240 evictions against tenants between late March 2020 until February 2021. The Cove Apartments at 2545 N. 83rd Ave. filed 217 evictions during the same period.
Eviction Lab findings
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.
Representatives from the Maricopa County justice courts track the number of instances that property owners and managers file evictions to have tenants removed from the premises. Those records are then published each month along with the address of the property, the name of the landlord and tenant, as well as the amount of money a justice of the peace believes a tenant owes.
Eviction Lab researchers compiled the county justice courts’ eviction cases and tallied the records at a particular address, taking note of the entity that owns the property and when the eviction was filed with the courts.
Researchers created two sets or rankings. The first is the 100 complexes with the most eviction filings since March 15, 2020, the beginning of the pandemic. The second is the 100 apartments with the most eviction filings from July 11 until Aug. 29.
The 10 apartment complexes with the most eviction filings from July 11 to Aug. 29 account for one-fifth of all eviction filings in the period. Leading the way is The Cove Apartments with 56.
At The Cove Apartments in Phoenix, 217 evictions were filed by Heers Trust of Nevada and California during the first 11 months of the pandemic.
The Eviction Lab data shows consistent behavior by many landlords. Many that filed the most evictions in the most recent eight weeks have filed for evictions against tenants since March 2020.
Ranked first through 10th in the number of eviction filings in the past two months are: The Cove Apartments, Del Mar Terrace Apartments, Connect on Northern Apartments, Villetta Apartments, Motif Apartment Homes, Fairways on Thunderbird Apartments, Villas De Azul Apartments, The Mod Apartments, Fountain Oaks Apartments and Tides on Country Club Apartments.
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Ranked 11th through 20th are these properties: Zinc Apartments, Morgan Park, Bolero Apartment Homes, Mesa Ridge Apartment Homes, The Urban Apartments, Olive Tree Apartments, Metro on Main Apartments, Stillwater Apartments, The Julia Apartments and Las Colinas at Black Canyon Apartments.
Ranked first through 10th in the number of eviction filings since March 2020 are: Del Mar Terrace Apartments, The Cove Apartments, Villas De Azul Apartments, The Mod Apartments, Vaseo Apartments, Canyons on Colter Apartments, Connect on Northern Apartments, Mesa Ridge Apartments, Motif Apartments and Stillwater Apartments.
Del Mar Terrace Apartments in Phoenix is pictured on April 23, 2021.
Ranked 11th through 20th are these properties: Saratoga Ridge Apartments, Montelano Apartments, Solano Pointe Apartments, Olive Tree Apartments, Tides at Deer Valley, Paseo on University Apartments, Capri on Camelback Apartments, Thom Slate on Colter Apartments, Biltmore on the Lakes Apartments and Julia Apartments.
Many of the complexes with the 20 highest eviction filings have owners and investors based outside of Arizona, with a few located internationally. Western Wealth Capital, affiliated with Villas de Azul Apartments and The Mod Apartments, operates out of Canada, as does Onni Real Estate, owner of Montelano Apartments.
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Others are located in Northern California, such as the owners of Vaseo Apartments, listed as Klein Financial Corp., and the owners of The Canyons on Coulter Apartments, listed as 5631 W. Colter St. from Fremont, California.
Coverage of housing insecurity on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is supported by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.
Reach reporter Ralph Chapoco at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @rchapoco.
Reach reporter Catherine Reagor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-568-2856. Follow her on Twitter @catherinereagor.
AUTHOR: Ralph Chapoco and Catherine Reagor