About Changes to Arizona’s Rent-Related Assistance Programs
by Nick Mertens
Over recent months, there have been changes to Arizona’s rent-related assistance programs, affecting both landlords and tenants. Each program varies based on location. Arizona landlords can find specific information regarding each local program at www.housing.az.gov.
What This Means for Landlords
While programs are available our property managers have experienced a difficult time getting on the waitlist. If you are self-managing and would like to work with your tenants to get assistance, our property managers recommend calling first thing in the morning and warn that it does often take multiple tries to get through. Once you do get connected, the waitlists are often several months out.
While every landlord hopes for tenants who work with them to get assistance, there are some who don’t communicate or don’t qualify. In these cases, landlords are allowed to serve ‘Notices to Pay’. Our team suggests offering a grace period through the third, then preparing and sending the letters on the fifth. For tenants who do complete assistance paperwork, the Notice will typically prioritize their application for review. For those who don’t, landlords may file in court if the tenant does not turn in a CDC Declaration. While the CDC ban has been ruled unconstitutional, as of May, it continues to be in place. While we are in a waiting game to learn more, we do not expect it to be extended past the end of June.
Landlords are required to share information regarding the CDC Declaration when serving notices for monetary reasons. The Declaration allows tenants to avoid eviction and can stop the process up until the eviction itself. If tenants submit one, landlords are not allowed to charge them for legal fees. Submitting a Declaration does not completely eliminate the possibility of eviction. The order requires that tenants seek government assistance to try to keep up on rent. If tenants don’t work with landlords to complete the Emergency Rental Assistance application, there is a legal argument to challenge their Declaration.
This creates a conversation around letting leases expire. The CDC order and Declaration’s center on monetary evictions, not lease expirations. Leases that have expired leave open the option to post Notice to Quit as an alternative to moving out a tenant. Since each situation is unique, it behooves landlords to discuss their particular circumstances with knowledgeable industry associates.
To discover how property management may be help your current situation, email Nick Mertens at Nick@realatlas.com.