Maricopa County landlords file nearly 8,000 eviction complaints in October

Nov 3, 2023, 6:35 AM

A Maricopa County constable posts an eviction order for non-payment of rent on Oct. 1, 2020, in Pho...

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

(File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s most populous county and one of America’s fastest-growing regions saw more eviction filings in October than in any month since the beginning of this century, court officials said Thursday.

Landlords filed 7,948 eviction complaints last month with the justice courts in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, court spokesperson Scott Davis said. The previous monthly record was 7,902, set in September 2005, he said.

Davis noted that roughly one in three eviction filings do not lead to evictions as landlords and tenants work out agreements before lockouts occur.

Census figures show that Maricopa County recently saw the largest migration boom in the U.S., leaving real estate developers struggling to meet the housing needs of tens of thousands of new residents arriving every year. From July 2021 to July 2022, the county grew by almost 57,000 new residents and now has a population of 4.5 million people.

The Arizona Department of Housing said the state has a severe housing shortage of some 270,000 dwelling units of all kinds.

A housing supply committee of government officials and housing specialists found last year that it takes too long to build new housing in Arizona and that the current local zoning regulations create barriers to new development.

With the demand high for housing units, especially affordable ones, rents have soared in recent years, leaving many Arizona residents to struggle with their monthly housing costs. Apartment List, an online marketplace for rental listings, reported this week that although rent prices in Phoenix fell 1% in October, they are up 25.6% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The median rent in Phoenix is now $1,155 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,397 for a two-bedroom unit, Apartment List reported. The citywide apartment vacancy rate stands at 6.8%, it added.

The Arizona Multihousing Association, which represents several thousand property owners and managers across the state, underscored on Thursday that most landlords work hard to keep residents in their homes.

“We know people are struggling,” association president and CEO Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus said in a statement. “When people can’t pay their rent, eviction is typically the last resort. No one wants to see anyone lose their home.”

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Maricopa County landlords file nearly 8,000 eviction complaints in October