By Mark B. Zinman | Zona Law Group P.C.
The Arizona legislature adjourned another session (Sine Die) on June 25, 2022. Therefore, there will be no new bills coming out of the legislature this year. Unless a new law has an emergency clause (see last paragraph below), most new bills that were signed into law will become effective 90 days after sine die.
Every year, people propose numerous bills affecting real estate, and this year was no different. What is important is that most bills that are proposed do not become law. For example, there were numerous proposals this year about extending notice time periods for evictions and rent control bills – none of which passed.
Last month, we wrote about the new wholesale disclosure bill that was signed into law. Another bill for investors was HB 2485, and it created a new statute – A.R.S. 33-1379. It creates a new option that has never existed before – the sealing of certain eviction records.
The law provides that there are 3 instances when an eviction case can be sealed and not made available to the public: (1) The case is dismissed before entry of a judgment; (2) A judgment is entered in favor of the tenant; (3) A stipulation is submitted by both parties, to have the file sealed.
Effectively, if an eviction is filed and a judgment is not ultimately entered in the landlord’s favor, the case could be sealed. If a case is sealed, only the parties to the case and their attorneys will be able to access the file. In other words, such cases are not supposed to show up on a tenant’s credit or background check.
For purposes of completing background checks, we do not believe that the majority of our clients even consider a dismissed eviction, and this will not change their screening process. Most clients do take into consideration actual eviction judgments, but not merely the filing of the case. Oftentimes, a case is filed, but it is dismissed because the tenant paid in full. Therefore, those are generally not relevant for future landlords.
Another law that was passed created a study group to look into the housing shortage we have in Arizona, and what can be done to address it. HB 2374 established an 11-member Housing Supply Study Committee. The intent is to have them propose ways to address Arizona’s housing shortage and mitigate its causes. This bill had an emergency clause, so it already became law, the committee has already started meeting and they are required to submit recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature by December 31, 2022. Let’s cross our fingers that allowing more building is one of the solutions.