Maricopa County eviction rates surge, could break October record

Oct 5, 2023, 4:35 AM

Maricopa County constable Darlene Martinez posts an eviction order for non-payment of rent on Octob...

Maricopa County constable Darlene Martinez posts an eviction order for non-payment of rent on October 1, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County evictions are continuing to rise and could break the record at the end of October.

According to the county, 7,809 evictions were filed with the Maricopa County Justice Courts in September 2023. August also had high rates and sits as the third-highest month for evictions.

The record is 7,902, which was set in August 2005.

For the entire year of 2023 so far, there have been 61,526 eviction cases filed. The all-time high is 83,687 in 2005.

Of the 26 court precincts in Maricopa County, five had the highest number of evictions filed: Manistee (517), Kyrene (514), Maryvale (505), Moon Valley (481) and Encanto (386).

A snowball effect

Presiding Justice of the Peace Anna Huberman oversees many eviction cases in court, and she said it’s because people are one crisis away from having no money.

“Even folks who usually can pay their rent live pretty much paycheck to paycheck. And so, anything that’s unexpected puts them behind and makes it so they can’t pay their rent,” Huberman said.

This can start a snowball effect that leaves someone out of a home. Huberman adds that the problem is exasperated since affordable housing is in short supply. So, if someone is evicted, they may have few other options to find housing again.

Another factor that can lead to more completed evictions is that Arizona has a fast process once the case goes to court.

“Everything can occur very, very quickly. From the time someone misses a rent payment to the time they can get an eviction judgment against them can be as soon as 20 days,” she said.

Renters can “cure” their eviction case, but that is accomplished by paying a certain amount of money. So, if a renter is being evicted due to a lack of funds, Huberman said they likely cannot pay their way out of eviction either.

All this adds up to a harder economy for renters, and it is being reflected in these eviction rates. Between inflation and the price of rent itself, families and people on fixed incomes (like seniors) are simply being priced out.

“I had a gentleman today who was waiting to get disability and was being evicted. It’s just very difficult to see these people are being left without a home,” she said.

She also points out that the areas with the highest rates of evictions are also some of the denser parts of the county that are lined with many apartment complexes.

But Huberman still said these eviction rates are not just a result of more people and remains concerned about the rental market.

“You know, as the courts we don’t have the solution to that. We can just try to apply the law as humanely as possible,” she said.

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Maricopa County eviction rates surge, could break October record