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Eviction moratorium expires leaving Arizonans struggling to pay rent in limbo

Arizona rental funds remain untapped as the eviction moratorium is set to expire July 31 and the country could see a wave of evictions as the Delta variant surges.

PHOENIX — Thousands of Arizonans are still reeling from the aftermath of the COVID-19 impact on the economy. Those struggling to pay rent will now lose their safety blanket as the Center for Disease Control eviction moratorium is set to expire on July 31.

"The eviction process is very complicated and it is easy to get caught up in the 'fear scenario' that hundreds or even thousands of people suddenly will become homeless," said Scott Davis with the Maricopa County Justice Courts. "This is simply not the case and the courts have taken steps to ensure this will not happen." 

A lot of uncertainty among legal experts has remained as to how the expiration will impact tenants and landlords. 

“Now that the unemployment and the moratorium is starting to end, I think there is a lot of stress within the community of, 'What are we going to do? How can we get some help,'” said Lisa Bratcher, Eviction Prevention Program Manager for the Save the Family Foundation of Arizona.  

Arizona received $550 million in federal funding for rental assistance programs, but most of it has been unused. 

Here is what tenants and landlords need to know in the coming weeks

In NEW eviction cases, judges will ask tenants if they are aware and have applied for rental assistance. Rental assistance is an option to buy the tenant more time. If the landlord and tenant agree on the program, the eviction case will be granted a stay. 

Landlords with PREVIOUS eviction cases open may need to file a Motion to Amend. 

Landlords with closed judgments against tenants where the tenant was allowed to stay under the eviction moratorium will need to file a Motion to Amend and file a new application to evict. 

“What is important for tenants to know is that they will get advance notice,” said Charles Adonetto, Arizona's Judicial Officer of the Courts. "Tenants have to read the paperwork that is served to them and need to appear in court. It’s guaranteed if they don’t appear in court, they are going to lose.”   

Previous eviction judgments resolved using rental assistance could be vacated and not appear on the tenant's record. 

Forms anyone might need for the stages of an eviction case can be found on the Maricopa courts website.  

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