The Eviction Process in Arizona: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you a landlord or a tenant in Arizona facing eviction? Whether you’re a landlord trying to take ownership of your rental property or a tenant hoping to get through the eviction procedures, it’s important to understand the legal process.

Step 1: Notice to Quit or Pay Rent

The eviction process in Arizona typically begins with:

  • A written notice sent to the tenant, known as a “Notice to Quit or Pay Rent.” 
  • This notice is served by the landlord when the tenant has failed to pay rent on time. 

According to Arizona law (A.R.S. § 33-1368), the notice period is usually five days, during which the tenant must either pay the overdue rent or vacate the premises.

Step 2: Waiting Period

After receiving the Notice to Quit or Pay Rent, the tenant has the specified number of days (usually five) to comply with the notice by paying the overdue rent. If the tenant does so within this time frame:

  • The eviction process stops
  • Tenant retains possession of the property

Step 3: Filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) Complaint

If the tenant fails to pay the rent or vacate the property within the notice period, the landlord can proceed with filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) complaint. This formal legal document initiates the eviction process. It must be filed with the appropriate justice court in the county where the rental property is located.

Step 4: Summons and Complaint Served to Tenant

Once the FED complaint is filed, the court will issue a summons and a copy of the FED complaint: 

  • These documents must be served to the tenant. 
  • Proper service is crucial, and it can be carried out by a process server or a law enforcement officer. 

The tenant is then notified of the date and time of the eviction hearing.

Step 5: Eviction Hearing

The eviction hearing is a crucial step in the process, where both the landlord and tenant have the opportunity to present their cases before a judge. If the tenant contests the eviction:

  • The judge will listen to both sides. 
  • The court will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented. 

Both parties must prepare their documentation and legal arguments.

Step 6: Writ of Restitution

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, they will issue a Writ of Restitution. This document provides the tenant with a specific period (usually five days) to vacate the property voluntarily. Failure to comply with the writ may result in law enforcement involvement to physically remove the tenant and their belongings from the premises.

Step 7: Possession of Property

Once the tenant has vacated the rental property, the landlord can regain possession. Additionally, the tenant may be held responsible for any unpaid rent, damages, and court costs as determined by the court.

It’s essential to note that Arizona law is specific about the eviction process and timelines. Both landlords and tenants must adhere to these legal requirements, and self-help actions by landlords, such as changing locks or cutting off utilities, are strictly prohibited by law (A.R.S. § 33-1367).


Ultimately, both landlords and tenants must understand the Arizona eviction process. Legal proceedings can be complex, so it’s best to seek legal advice or representation to protect your rights and duties during the eviction process. Keep in mind that this information is only a general overview; unique circumstances might require additional legal consultation.