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Evictions in Maricopa County on track to surpass 2021 levels

“I think this is going to be one of the busiest years for the Justice Courts," said Maricopa County Justice of the Peace Donald Watts.

PHOENIX — Evictions are on track to far surpass 2021 levels, according to data from the Maricopa County Justice Courts.

Already this year there have been 35,000 evictions filed with the court. That's compared to 42,000 evictions for the entire year in 2021. 

“I think this is going to be one of the busiest years for the Justice Courts," said Justice of the Peace Donald Watts. 

In Watts's court, he said he's seeing upwards of 75 eviction cases a day. 

"The week before, we had 92 in one day," Watts said.

In June and July, Maricopa County saw more evictions than at any time during the pandemic era. That's measured from 2019 to today. There were 5,792 evictions in June and 6,405 in July, the latest months the county has data for. 

But looking at the last 20 years, evictions are actually at their lowest rates. 

Because of the moratorium on evictions that stretched the first year of the pandemic, evictions dropped to a fraction of normal.

Typically, according to the court data, Maricopa County sees between 60,000 and 70,000 cases a year. But those eviction numbers are rising as moratoriums expire and tenants face back rent that they can't pay. 

Watts said landlords typically work with tenants, but can't keep doing it forever.

"They're in the business of renting," Watts said. "They're not in the business of doing evictions. So they want to be able to keep those folks in the units and they're holding off as long as they possibly can.”

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