Q: I texted my tenant that the rent was owed and sent a picture of the 5-Day Notice for Non-Payment of Rent. They responded by saying, “I will pay the rent.” Is that valid service?
A: You have a decent argument you can make that notice was valid because they have actual knowledge of the notice. However, that is not a guarantee that your case won’t be dismissed by a judge. In Arizona, a notice is guaranteed validly served when it is hand-delivered or sent certified mail. The law also says that it is served when the person “has actual knowledge of it.” A.R.S. §33-1313. Therefore, we can argue that the tenant has actual knowledge when they are sent a text, but a judge isn’t bound by that. A judge could still find that the response doesn’t actually acknowledge the notice, just that rent is owed. Also, it’s possible that the picture didn’t download properly on the tenant’s phone. When serving notices, it’s not worth the risk – simply hand-deliver it or send certified.
By Mark B. Zinman, Zona Law Group