(the views below is not specific to the Court pictured above)

My first year practicing in UnJustice Court was difficult. I read the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act repeatedly and showed up to court ready to argue my case. Each time, I was met with resistance from the Judges regarding counterclaims. According to each Judge, counterclaims are not allowed in eviction actions due to non-payment of rent or because these proceedings are meant to be “speedy” and counterclaims will prolong the termination of the lease and removal of mothers with children to the streets (not in those words).

Yet the ARLTA does allow for counterclaims stemming from material breaches of the lease; it is not precluded simply because the action is for non-payment of the rent. In fact, most of the eviction actions include other claims in addition to non-payment.

SO, how do you deal with this? File your answer and your counterclaim and demand that the Judge rule on it. Make sure he states in open court that the counterclaim(s) are dismissed or are not proper for whatever reason. This allows you to file a Complaint in Superior Court, if your damages are over $10,000 as I’m sure they will be. No issue or claim preclusion because you were unable to file your claim at the time of the initial action.

Sue them in a court where all of the Judges went to law school, instead of UnJustice Court where they were “elected” and then trained by eviction lawyers.

Good luck and Godspeed!!



There are dozens of companies out there that promise tenants they can break their lease with a letter or a phone call. These companies charge hundreds of dollars, sometimes they charge one month’s rent.  They come to your home and assess the property, take pictures and video of damages or what is perceived as damages and material defects in your home.  They prepare a 5 day or a 10 day request for repairs.  The strategy is to bombard the landlord with repair request and when the landlord refuses or can not make the repairs, a subsequent letter is sent indicating that the tenant is exercising their right to terminate the lease.  You believe that it is within your right to terminate, you leave and a year later you are in court. Why? Because the 5 day notice can serve as a defense to a breach of the lease claim by your landlord but it is not a catch all nor is it a get-out-of-your-lease-free card.  If the landlord fails to make the repairs, then you should negotiate a mutual rescission agreement to end the contract before you leave. If you don’t, you can find yourself in court a year later for a breach of the lease claim and at that point, you may not have the 5-day notice as proof, no pictures or videos to defend the action.  It is important that you speak to an attorney before you move out.

Note: The statute allows the landlord to begin making the repairs within the 5 or 10 days, he doesn’t have to fix it within that time frame. Below is a sample 5-day request for repairs for Arizona residents ONLY.

Five Day Request for Repairs

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Phoenix Police crack down on slumlord


The Phoenix police department shut down a community due to the negligence of the landlord. Rooming, Inc is the owner of two properties located within the city of Phoenix.  According to, “Police said Rooming Inc. President Elijah Brown targeted mentally ill and homeless people in a scheme that required them to turn over their Social Security checks in exchange for rent.”

This is a huge problem in Arizona and the system here fails our tenants at every turn. Tenants complain to the landlord and he does nothing. The tenant attempts self help or uses his limited funds to provide himself with heat or an alternative place to live. Then the landlord initiates an eviction action. Although the Rules of Eviction Procedure allows for a counterclaim, the Justice tells the tenant that he does not have a counterclaim because he failed to send a certified 5 day notice of repair, although he sent text messages and sometimes emails. Tenant complains to the police and is told that this is a civil matter. Tenant complains to building code and building code sends a notice to the landlord of an upcoming “visit”. The landlord patches up some items, code enforcer comes out gives the okay and doesn’t return for another year or so. So the tenant doesn’t complain. Tenant pays his rent and continues to live in deplorable conditions because Tenant knows that his complaints will fall on deaf ears.

And although it is admirable that the PD stepped in and issued citations and closed the community, it took way too long for the city to notice. “This landlord has been cited for multiple, non-criminal code violations, including: improper outside storage, unsafe buildings, and construction permit, certificate of occupancy and zoning violations. Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis said, adding the apartments were the source of hundreds of emergency calls. “In 2016, we had 600 calls for service at this address; 400 for police, 200 for fire.”- AZCentral

To protect our tenants, we must enforce the law and allow for counterclaims during eviction actions. The only way to change the living conditions of our AZ residents is to hit the landlords, and their attorneys where it hurts; in their pockets.


For legal help, contact Tenant Protectors @


Don’t Let Them Lie to You

The most concerning issue with the internet is the spread of false information and what lawyers like to call, ‘google attorneys’.  As of July, 2015, a new statute was added to the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act that gives tenants or landlords the power to call law enforcement to remove a guest of the tenant from the home without notice. This new statute contains language that makes for good talking points and attractive clickable links. Unfortunately, the fake news or misinterpretation, is spreading like wildfire.

The Statute:

A.R.S. 33-1378. Removal of guest; notice: A person who is a guest of a tenant who is not named on a written lease and who remains on the premises without the permission of the tenant or the landlord is not a lawful tenant and that person’s presence in or on the premises does not constitute residency or tenancy. A person who knowingly remains on the premises without the permission of the tenant or the landlord may be removed by a law enforcement officer at the request of the tenant or the landlord who is entitled to possession of the premises.

The Fear Mongering for Clicks:

Landlords will call the police to remove anyone from the home without giving you notice. The police will break down your door and arrest anyone that is not on the lease agreement simply because they don’t like the way your guest looks. So black and mexican people, beware!! Some bloggers and people that prepare documents for tenants without a law degree, have interpreted the statute to mean just that; the 4th amendment rights of your guest will be violated by the police if your landlord doesn’t like your guest sneakers or the color of their skin. Recognize that this fear mongering is for clicks or for you to purchase their non-legal services.

The Truth: 

Here is the statute again with notes:

A person who is a guest of a tenant (invited by the tenant into the home/unit) who is not named on a written lease and (requires both of these events to occur)  who remains on the premises without the permission of the tenant or the landlord (if you say the guest can stay, than the guest can stay. You don’t need the permission of both you and the landlord ) is not a lawful tenant and that person’s presence in or on the premises does not constitute residency or tenancy(Meaning your guest has no legal standing to remain in the home. So if he/she is paying rent, considers themselves a roommate or heard that if they stay for 30 days you can’t kick them out,  you can still kick them out and now you can call the police to do it. ) A person who knowingly remains on the premises without the permission of the tenant or the landlord (the guest needs permission of either the tenant or the landlord) may be removed by a law enforcement officer at the request of the tenant or the landlord who is entitled to possession of the premises.(only the person who is entitled to possession of the premises can call law enforcement)

I want you to focus on the word, “Or” while I break down this statute for you.

Who is a guest? A person who is not on the lease invited by the tenant.

When does this guest become a problem? If the guest remains on the property without the permission of the person who has rightful possession (that would be you, the tenant). Understand that your lease agreement may indicate that you can not have guest longer than a stated term, with or without the permission of your landlord. You must abide by that lease agreement. However, if you keep guest longer than that, your landlord must serve you a 10 day notice of non-compliance.

This statute DOES NOT circumvent that requirement, at all.

In order for your landlord to call the police and circumvent the 10 day notice, eviction action,etc., the following must occur:

  1. You have a guest that YOU do not want in your home (whether they are paying you rent or not).
  2. That guest refuses to leave after YOU requested him/her to leave.
  3. You don’t want to call the police so you ask your landlord to do so.
  4. The only time your landlord can call the police on your guest that you want in the house or unit, is when your landlord has rightful possession of the home/unit.

This does not mean that the landlord can not issue a 10 day notice requesting that your guest leave because your lease agreement has a provision against guest. Nor does this mean that your landlord can’t file an eviction action because of non-compliance of the lease agreement. This means that your landlord can not call the police to have your guest removed if YOU gave that guest permission to remain.


Justice on Wooden Piece Arranged by Businessman