By Mark B. Zinman| Zona Law
I recently posted on LinkedIn the following information: there has been a slew of news articles reporting that Arizona has hit a historic high volume of monthly evictions. What many of these reports do not account for is the significant increase in population growth, the effect of the 18 months of moratorium, resulting hardship for property owners, and delays in rental assistance. The Arizona Supreme Court just published the chart below, which accounts for population growth, showing that per capita, evictions are below historic averages. It’s important to understand the context of these issues.
During the pandemic, we heard from tenant advocates and reporters that there would be a tsunami of evictions once the moratoriums were lifted. In August 2021, the United States Supreme Court struck down the last eviction moratorium (in Arizona), and there was no such tsunami. Rather, a year later, what we have seen is a gradual increase in the monthly evictions. However, given the context of the economy and inflation, an 18-month ban on evictions, and the significant increase in the local population – the increase in evictions is to be expected.
As evictions rise, we expect that more stories will negatively portray property owners and managers. Property owners must be aware of the scrutiny they are under in the public eye. There has been a significant change in the way landlord-tenant matters are covered. Each story you read perpetuates the hostility of the us vs. them mentality, which perpetuates a hostile environment.
We always suggest that our clients try to work with residents to avoid evictions where reasonably possible. We say “reasonably possible” as we recognize that an eviction is a property owner’s sole remedy to address a resident who refuses to pay rent or otherwise comply with the terms of a lease. However, entering into a lease with a resident is a partnership and should be treated as such.