You Served Your Notice How?
Landlords beware! It is common for a landlord to call our office to go over the process necessary for evicting a tenant. While discussing the factual background leading to the potential eviction it has become our practice to ask “How did you serve the notice?” The response to this question is critical to the eviction process.
The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides only two legal ways to serve a notice to a tenant. ARS 33-1313 (B) states in pertinent part
in the case of the tenant, it is delivered in hand to the tenant or
mailed by registered or certified mail to him at the place held out by him as the place for receipt of the communication or, in the absence of such designation, to his last known place of residence. If notice is mailed by registered or certified mail, the tenant or landlord is deemed to have received such notice on the date the notice is actually received by him or five days after the date the notice is mailed, whichever occurs first. (Emphasis added.)
In hand means exactly that; you must put the notice in the hand of the person who signed the lease. Please note that sliding the notice under the door, posting on the door and similar actions may not alone constitute service of the notice. Should you decide to go to court using this type of attempt you may run the risk that your eviction may end up getting dismissed. It does not mean that the tenant gets to stay in the property without paying and/or the tenant does not owe the rent. It means that you have to start the process of eviction all over again.
Registered or Certified Mail
If you were not able to put the notice in the tenant’s hand Arizona law allows, in these cases, service via registered or certified mail. While some of these services may cost a bit more in the long run the additional expense may save you time and money in completing the process for evicting a tenant. As a practical matter we have found that most of our clients use certified mail in these cases. While it is not necessary to send the certified mail via return receipt requested this additional service will serve as evidence of compliance with the statute in case you end up having to go to trial or even if there is a question of service.
You must be aware that any notice served via the mail will only be deemed received by the tenant 5 days from the day the notice was mailed or when the tenant signs the green card included in a return receipt request. In other words if you are sending a 5-day notice for non-payment of rent the tenant may end up having ten days to cure the non-payment. You may not be able to file your eviction action until the mailing plus cure time has expired. It does not matter whether the tenant accepts the certified mail or not, by law, it is deemed received five days from the time it is mailed.
The first step in any eviction action is notice. Make sure you properly deliver the notice and let us help you with the rest of the process. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at Bacho@dodgevegalaw.com or 480-656-8333.