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LANDLORDS TARGETED BY THE COURTS (Posted by Mike Parham on 1/1/17)
Landlords continue to be under siege from the court system.
To begin with, starting January 1, 2017, under a new rule parties (especially tenants) in eviction cases will be able to force a change of the assigned judge for no reason. Supposedly this is a pilot program but there is little doubt it will become permanent. All this will do is slow cases down and increase landlord expenses.
A Supreme Court Commission continues to seek a rule change by the Court making the use of certain notice forms by landlords and court eviction forms by lawyers mandatory. The Commission has drafted the forms they want mandated. There are many problems here the biggest being the forms are legally defective–they were clearly drafted by people who do not know what they are doing. We continue to lead the fight against this proposal and will be filing new objections by mid February.
Finally, many cases are resolved by having tenants who show up at court but do not dispute the rent owed sign stipulations agreeing to the numbers and to the eviction. This helps the courts process the heavy caseloads quickly and not waste time on cases where there are no disputes. Tenant and consumer advocates have been pressuring the courts to stop accepting stipulations with out the tenant appearing and acknowledging them. The Maricopa County Justice Courts are about to adopt this policy. Other counties will likely follow this lead. That defeats the purpose of stipulations and will slow cases down, again increasing landlord expense.
Advocates for these changes obviously have no concept of basic economics. The changes will slow cases down, make landlord expenses go up, and will ultimately force rents higher. Low rents are the ultimate consumer benefit of living in Arizona, but the advocacy groups have a hard job understanding this.