You have received a Notice of Material and Irreparable Breach

In Arizona, a tenant can be evicted from their home for violating the lease or rental agreement. A violation of the lease or rental agreement is called a “breach”. When a tenant breaks the rental agreement in an especially serious way – for example, by engaging in criminal activity on the property – the landlord can go to court and file an eviction Complaint against the tenant immediately.
An especially serious violation of a rental agreement – one that a tenant cannot fix – is called a “Material and Irreparable Breach”.

If a tenant receives a Notice for Material & Irreparable Breach, it means the landlord plans to ask the court for permission to kick the tenant out of their home right away.
No matter where in the eviction process you might be, a lawyer may be able to help. Arizona has a variety of free and reduced cost legal help programs to help with eviction and housing issues. Visit the Legal Help section of the website to connect with legal programs in your community.


Before a landlord can go to court to file an eviction Complaint against the tenant, the landlord must give the tenant a written Notice.
The Notice must provide the tenant with the following information:
A description of the material an irreparable breach.

The landlord must describe exactly how, where, and when the tenant materially and irreparably violated the rental agreement.
A statement informing the tenant that the landlord plans to file an eviction Complaint against the tenant immediately.

A Notice is not an official document from the court and does not need to be signed by a Judge or notarized.


Eviction Complaint & Summons

For material and irreparable breaches, the landlord or their attorney can file an official eviction Complaint with the court that has jurisdiction immediately. When the court receives a valid Complaint, the court will schedule a court hearing and issue a Summons. The Summons will provide the tenant with the date, time, and location of the hearing.
R.P.E.A. Rule 5(a)
Residential Act
The date of the court hearing will be no more than 3 days after the date the Summons is issued by the court.
A.R.S. § 33-1377(B)
Mobile Home Act/RV Act
The date of the court hearing will be 3-6 days after the date the Summons is issued by the court.
A.R.S. § 33-1485(B)
If you have received an eviction Summons, free or reduced cost legal assistance may be available to help. The eviction process in Arizona can move very quickly. It is important to apply for or contact legal help as early in the process as possible. Visit the Legal Help section of the website to connect with legal programs in your community.
If the tenant owes less than $10,000, the local Justice Court has jurisdiction. If the tenant owes more than $10,000 the county Superior Court has jurisdiction.

A Complaint tells the court what the landlord or property manager believes the tenant did to violate the lease or rental agreement.

A Complaint for Material and Irreparable Breach filed in court by the landlord must include:

The specific reason(s) why the landlord wants to have the tenant evicted.

The date the tenant was served or given the required Notice.

How the tenant was served or given the required Notice.

If the tenant’s rent is subsidized, a statement indicating that the tenant’s rent is subsidized.

R.P.E.A. Rule 5(b)(7)R.P.E.A. Rule 5(b)(8)

A statement describing in detail how the tenant materially and irreparably violated the rental agreement, including the date(s), time(s), and location(s).
R.P.E.A. Rule 5(d)(2)

Once the landlord or their attorney files the eviction complaint with the court, the court will issue a summons to the tenant.

A summons is an official notice of a lawsuit. A summons provides information about the landlord’s complaint and details about the hearing so the tenant can go to court and respond to the complaint.

The landlord is responsible for getting a copy of the Summons to the tenant.
The landlord must have a sheriff, constable, or certified private process server deliver the Summons to the tenant at least 2 days before the court hearing.
If the Summons is not delivered to the tenant at least 2 days before the date of the court hearing, the court may (but is not required to) dismiss the landlord’s Complaint.
The sheriff, constable, or certified process server must deliver the Summons to the tenant in one of two ways:
In person (either to the tenant or to another person of suitable age and discretion who lives with the tenant).
By posting one copy on the tenant’s door (or another place where the tenant is very likely to find it) then sending another copy to the tenant by certified mail, return receipt requested.
When the landlord has the tenant served with the Summons, the landlord must also include each of the following documents to the tenant:
An official (Court-stamped) copy of the landlord’s Complaint

A copy of the Notice that the landlord gave to or posted for the tenant.

A copy of the Residential Eviction Information Sheet (or another document containing the same information).

A copy of any items on the lease or rental agreement and/or any lease addendums (add-ons or changes) that are directly related to the landlord’s claims against the tenant.

If the landlord claims the tenant owes unpaid rent, a copy of a financial record showing the tenant’s charges and payments for the prior 6 months.

Responding to the Landlord’s Complaint

In Arizona, once a tenant stops paying their rent the eviction process can be started by the property owner or property manager. Before the landlord can file an eviction Complaint against the tenant, there are rules and laws that apply to each step of the eviction process.


An Answer is a written statement from the tenant given to the court. The Answer should be based on facts and evidence about the allegations made in the landlord’s Complaint. Tenants have the right to file a written Answer or Answer on the record in open court.

There is a fee for filing a written Answer, but the tenant may file a Fee Waiver/Deferral at the same time and ask not to pay the fee due to financial hardship. There is no fee required when the Answer is brought in open court.
Defenses used to file an Answer to the landlord’s Complaint of material and irreparable breach may be:
The lease or rental agreement was not violated in a material and irreparable way.
You cannot be evicted if your landlord is unable to show that you violated the lease or rental in an especially serious way.

If you have witnesses or evidence that you did not violate the lease in an especially serious way, bring those witnesses or that evidence to court.

You CAN be held responsible for the conduct of guests to your home. The only exception is if you could not have reasonably expected the violation to occur and attempted to prevent it to the best of your ability.

Residential Act: A.R.S. 33-1368
Mobile Home Parks Act: A.R.S. § 33-1476(D)
RV Parks Act: A.R.S. § 33-2143(D)

The tenant can Answer the landlord’s Complaint in two ways:

By filing an Answer with the court clerk, delivering a court-stamped copy of the Answer to the landlord before the court hearing, then appearing at the court hearing to argue against the landlord’s claims.
R.P.E.A. Rule 7
By taking part in the court hearing either in-person, over the phone, or online, to argue against the landlord’s claims.
R.P.E.A. Rule 11(b)
If the tenant has a legal defense to eviction the tenant uses an Answer form to let the court know. An Answer will only be considered if the tenant appears at the court hearing, even if they file it with the court before the hearing occurs.
The landlord’s Notice of Material and Irreparable Breach, the eviction Complaint filed by the landlord, and the Summons received by the tenant must meet the requirements of Arizona’s laws and rules.
If the Notice, Complaint, and Summons (or the delivery of the Notice, Complaint, and Summons) from the landlord did not follow the law or rules, the tenant may let the Judge know they did not receive enough time or sufficient notice.

Violations of Arizona’s laws or rules include:
The Summons was not properly served or delivered to the tenant.
The Summons was not properly served or delivered to you.
R.P.E.A. Rule 5(e)  |  A.R.C.P. Rule 4.1(d)

The Summons was not delivered to you at least 2 days before the date of the court hearing.
A.R.S. § 33-1485(B)R.P.E.A. Rule 5(f)

An unauthorized person (not a sheriff, constable, or process server) delivered the Summons to you.
R.P.E.A. Rule 5(e)  |  A.R.C.P. Rule 4(d)(1)
If any of the above are true, the court may dismiss the Complaint.
R.P.E.A. Rule 13(a)(1)


A landlord is required to keep a rental unit in a “fit and habitable” condition and not violate the lease agreement. If a landlord has not kept the unit “fit and habitable“or if the landlord has violated the lease or rental agreement, a tenant can file a Counterclaim. Counterclaims are fact-based complaints that the tenant can prove with evidence (examples: printed photographs, witnesses).
In an eviction for material and irreparable breach where the landlord claims you owe them money for nonpayment of rent, you have the right to Counterclaim for any amount you can recover if your landlord has violated your lease or rental agreement or Arizona law.
A.R.S. § 33-1365

If the tenant is responsible for a material and irreparable, a counterclaim may not be considered by the court.
Tenants are required to prove that they told the landlord about these problems and that the landlord failed to correct them within a reasonable time.

If the tenant wants to make a Counterclaim:

The tenant files a written Counterclaim with the Clerk of the Court

The tenant delivers a court-stamped copy of the Counterclaim to the landlord before the court hearing

The tenant appears at the court hearing to tell the judge why the court should grant the Counterclaim.

Before the Hearing

Before the court eviction hearing, a tenant and landlord may come to an agreement or negotiate a way to avoid an eviction.
If your landlord does not have a legal basis for having you evicted, you may want to contact the landlord or the landlord’s attorney and provide the landlord or attorney with a copy (not the original) of whatever evidence you have. If the landlord and tenant agree to a settlement, the landlord or landlord’s attorney must ask the court to dismiss the eviction action since the landlord brought the Complaint.
Any agreement between you and your landlord should be made in writing, signed and dated by you and the landlord. Make sure to keep a copy of the agreement for your records.

If your landlord agrees to stop the eviction, the written agreement between you and your landlord should include a promise by the landlord to ask the court to dismiss the Complaint.
R.P.E.A. Rule 9(f)

A stipulated judgment is a judgment evicting the tenant without a hearing.

Sometimes, before the eviction hearing takes place, the landlord’s attorney will approach or contact the tenant and ask the tenant to sign a written judgment. By signing the written judgment, the tenant agrees to whatever the judgment says.

It is called a “stipulated” judgment because both the landlord and the tenant agree (or “stipulate”) to whatever the judgment says without waiting to argue their cases in front of the Judge.
Once the tenant has signed the stipulated judgment, the tenant cannot change their mind. The tenant loses their right to present a legal defense to eviction or to make a Counterclaim against the landlord. The tenant also loses their right to appeal the judgment against them.
After the tenant has signed the stipulated judgment, the landlord’s attorney will present it to the judge, the judge will sign it, and the tenant will be evicted.

Every stipulated judgment must include the following written warning to the tenant

1. The landlord’s attorney is not a court employee.
2. By signing, you are consenting to the terms of a judgment against you and the landlord’s attorney will now be able to evict you.
3. You may have your wages garnished and the judgment may appear on your credit report.
4. You may lose your right to subsidized housing.
5. You may NOT stay at the property, even if the amount of the judgment is paid in full, unless you get the agreement in writing or get a new written lease or rental agreement.

R.P.E.A. Rule 13(b)(4)

Preparing for an Eviction Hearing

Eviction hearings in Arizona are often limited in the time available before a judge for each case. If you have an eviction hearing scheduled, a lawyer may be better able to address the legal issues during a hearing. Free or reduced cost legal assistance may be available to help. Visit the Legal Help section of the website to connect with legal programs in your community.

To prepare for your eviction hearing:

Learn about your rights and options.

Reviewing the information on this website may be helpful in knowing how to respond to an eviction Complaint.

Decide if you want to settle, go to court, or file an Answer.

You can try to negotiate a settlement with your landlord before the hearing in exchange for getting the case dismissed. If you make a deal, get everything in writing. You should still attend your hearing, to make sure the case is dismissed. Be careful if signing a “stipulated judgment”. A stipulated judgment means you are agreeing that you owe a certain amount of money and you agree to leave the property.

Going to Court
If you leave your home without going to court, the case does not go away. If you do not attend the hearing, you will likely automatically lose and receive a default  judgment.

Raise Defenses and File an Answer
If you have a defense, you have three ways to tell the court:

File formal documents with the court before your hearing.
Bring formal documents with you to your hearing.
Tell the judge your story without any documents.

If you will go to court, prepare documents and evidence and make a plan to attend.

Before going to court or attending virtually, write down your case number. This is how some courts announce when it is time for your hearing - by the case number and last names. Eviction hearings may only last a few minutes, so be on time and ready when your case is called. 

If you plan to share documents or evidence, make sure to provide copies to the landlord or their attorney and the judge.

Put the court date in your calendar and set a reminder or alarm to arrive on time. Understand how the hearing will be held and what options are available to attend.

If attending by telephone or video conference, try to find a quiet place to connect to the hearing, understand how the phone or video conference system works to mute and unmute yourself, and make sure your device or computer has enough battery or charge. If attending in person, try to arrive at the court 30 minutes before the hearing is supposed to start and listen for your name and case number.