Hearings

It can feel overwhelming to interact with the court system – especially if you are representing yourself. There might be benefits to attending or not attending an eviction court hearing.
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Chance to tell your side of the story to the Judge.

Chance of winning your case and staying in your home.

Opportunity for the Judge to order the landlord to make repairs or address serious conditions.

Likely to get a better result than not going at all.

What to Expect at an Eviction Hearing

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An eviction hearing begins when the Judge calls the case by saying the case number and the names of the landlord and tenant.

In most eviction cases, the Judge will ask the landlord (or the landlord’s attorney) to briefly explain why the tenant should be evicted.

After the landlord (or the landlord’s attorney) has spoken, the Judge will ask the tenant if the landlord’s allegations are true.
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The tenant should arrive at the hearing prepared to argue why they should not be evicted according to the law and/or why the court should grant their Counterclaim.
Whenever possible, the tenant should be ready to support their arguments with “evidence” (proof). Examples of evidence include:
Receipts and other proof of payment
The sworn testimony of witnesses who are willing and able to speak at the hearing
Written letters, emails, or texts (printed out onto paper if possible)
Photographs or videos
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If the tenant has a legal defense to eviction (an Answer) they should either file it with the court in writing or let the Judge know right away.

If they have a Counterclaim against the landlord, the tenant must file it with the court and serve it to the landlord before the hearing. R.P.E.A. Rule 8
It is important for the tenant to keep in mind that the purpose of an eviction hearing is to determine if the landlord has a legal right to have the tenant evicted because the tenant violated the rental agreement. If the tenant has a legal defense to eviction, the tenant should focus on presenting that legal defense to the Judge. An eviction hearing is not a good place to raise broader issues of justice and fairness.
If the Judge decides that it looks like the tenant may have a legal defense to eviction and/or the basis for a Counterclaim against the landlord, the Judge will order a trial. R.P.E.A. Rule 11(b)(1)
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The Judge may decide to conduct the trial right then or to schedule the trial for later that day or up to 3 business days later. Since their may not be a continuance, the tenant should be prepared for the eviction hearing at the initial appearance.
If you are not prepared for the trial, you may ask the Judge for a “continuance” (postponement) of the trial.
R.P.E.A. Rule 11(c)  |   R.P.E.A. Rule 13(b)(3)(A)
If the Judge or the landlord (or the landlord’s attorney) propose a date and time for the trial that will not work for the tenant, the tenant should say so right away.

Judgments

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If a tenant does not attend their eviction hearing, the landlord will automatically win the case. Automatically losing a case results in a Default Judgment, which means that the case will be decided in the landlord’s favor.
At the end of the eviction hearing or trial, the Judge will decide two things:
1. Judgment for Possession
Whether the tenant should be evicted.
2. Judgment for Money
How much money (if any) the tenant owes the landlord or the landlord owes the tenant.

Judgment for Possession

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If the Judge decides the tenant should not be evicted, the Judge will dismiss the landlord’s Complaint and/or grant a Judgment for Possession to the tenant.
A.R.S. § 12-1178(B)
A.R.S. § 33-1377(G)
A.R.S. § 33-1485(F)
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(1)(C)
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If the Judge decides the tenant should be evicted, the Judge will evict the tenant by granting a Judgment for Possession to the landlord.
A.R.S. § 12-1178(A)
A.R.S. § 33-1377(F)
A.R.S. §33-1485(E)
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(1)(A)

Judgment for Money

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If the Judge decides the tenant owes money to the landlord, the Judge will grant a Judgment for Money to the landlord.
A.R.S. § 33-1377(D),(F)
A.R.S. § 33-1485(E)
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(2),(d),(f)
A Judgment for Money for the landlord can cover any or all of the following:
Unpaid Rent (including rent that came due after the landlord filed the eviction Complaint).
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(2)(A)

Reasonable Late Fees that were specified in writing in the rental agreement.
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(2)(C)

Other Fees or Charges described in the rental agreement.
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(2)(D)

Rent Concessions that the tenant is required to repay according to the rental agreement.
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(d)

Court Costs.
A.R.S. §12-341
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(2)(H)

Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees.
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(f)

Other financial losses directly resulting from the tenant’s violation of the Rental Agreement.
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(c)(2)(E)

Writ of Restitution

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If a tenant loses their eviction case, they will need to move out of their home. After an eviction hearing, a landlord or the landlord’s attorney can ask the Judge for a Writ of Restitution.
A Writ of Restitution is a court order instructing a sheriff or constable to physically remove an evicted tenant from the dwelling or property and change the locks.
The reason for the eviction will determine the timeline for when a Writ of Restitution will be issued and enforced.
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Nonpayment of Rent
If the Judge evicts the tenant for nonpayment of rent, the tenant will have at least 5 days before a Writ of Restitution is issued.
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Material Breach
If the Judge evicts the tenant for material breach of the rental agreement, the tenant will have at least 5 days before a Writ of Restitution is issued.
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Material and Irreparable Breach
If the Judge evicts the tenant for material and irreparable breach (immediate) of the rental agreement, the tenant will have between 12 and 24 hours before a Writ of Restitution is issued.
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If the tenant rents a lot space in a mobile home park or RV park, the landlord can ask the sheriff or constable to physically remove the tenant but leave the tenant’s mobile home or RV where it is.
A.R.S. § 33-1481(B)  |  A.R.S. § 33-2145(B)
If a sheriff or constable delivers a Writ of Restitution to the tenant, and the tenant either refuses to leave or later returns to the dwelling or property without the landlord’s permission, the tenant can be charged with Third Degree Criminal Trespass.
A.R.S. § 12-1178(D)  |  A.R.S. § 13-1502
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The landlord can shut off the tenant’s utilities beginning the day after the sheriff or constable delivers the Writ of Restitution.
A.R.S. § 33-1368(D)