By Mark Zinman | Zona Law
Question: I just filed an eviction against my tenant for non-payment of rent. The tenant appeared in court and alleged that he left the keys in the unit for me. I didn’t know the keys were there and that he had moved out. What do I need to do? Is that my fault?
Answer: It is not your fault; it’s the tenant’s responsibility to turn in the keys to you when they move out, whether that is at the end of the lease, or in the middle of the lease. ARS 33-1310 defines “Delivery of possession” as returning dwelling unit keys to the landlord and vacating the premises. Therefore, a tenant can’t simply leave the property and leave the keys in the home, and assume that you, as the landlord, have possession. In fact, unless you gave proper notice, you would have no basis to enter the unit to check for keys anyways.