Eviction actions filed the month of September 2020 totaled 2,863 according to information obtained by ABC15 from the Maricopa County Justice Courts.
That is a rise from 2,171 filed in August 2020 and a development attorney Pamela Bridge with Community Legal Services says should be a concern for everyone. The non-profit law firm helps low-income Arizonans with housing and employment legal matters.
"They're either going to move in with family, that means exposing themselves to other people going into shelters or homeless shelters-which have one of the most growing amounts of people with COVID right now. Or they're going to become homeless," she said.
The eviction filings are rising despite Governor Ducey's executive order delaying the forced removal of tenants experiencing a COVID-19 hardship through October 31. The executive order still allows landlords to file for eviction judgments with the courts, and Bridge says a high percentage of people who get an eviction notice end up leaving before having their day in court, which results in a default judgment for the tenant.
But Bridge says renters may qualify for protection under a different moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that lasts through December 31.
"It requires tenants to sign a declaration. They don't have to have it notarized, but they sign it under penalty of perjury, stating that several factors are true," she said.
The requirements are also less stringent than the executive order qualifications and include:
- that you have made attempts to apply for rental assistance
- that you have had a substantial loss of income
- may become homeless if evicted
- make no more than $99,000 if single, $198,000 if married
Falso declarations and landlord violations carry a penalty of $100,000, according to Bridge.
A copy of the declaration page can be found here: www.cdc.gov.
It is the renter's responsibility to submit the declaration to their landlord with proof that they have received it.
Rent and late fees still accrue so Bridge says tenants need to pay what they can toward the balance.
"Because they don't want to begin the new year with an eviction for non-payment for all of these months," she said.