Metro Phoenix eviction filings surged to near-record level last year

Jan 8, 2024, 10:09 AM

A Maricopa County constable knocks on a door before posting an eviction order on Oct. 1, 2020, in P...

A Maricopa County constable knocks on a door before posting an eviction order on Oct. 1, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – A near-record number of eviction filings were recorded in metro Phoenix in 2023, authorities said.

The year closed with 83,236 eviction filings, an increase of more than 15,000 from 2022, Maricopa County Justice Courts announced last week.

The 2023 figure was the second largest since 2000, the earliest year for which records were made available, trailing only 2005’s 83,687.

Last year’s filings tailed off after peaking at 7,948 in October, the most for any single month in the county since 2000. The December total was 7,106, making it the fifth-busiest month of 2023.

Not all filings result in evictions, so the court records don’t indicate how many renters were forced to move out.

Looking ahead, Maricopa County Justice Court Judge Anna Huberman said eviction filings historically dip in the early months of the year, in part because people can use tax refunds to catch up on payments.

“Hopefully … we should have lower numbers starting in February and March for at least … a couple of months until the numbers start to go up again,” Huberman told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

What are the recent eviction trends in Maricopa County?

Annual Valley eviction numbers held steadily in the 60,000 range over the decade leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filings fell to 36,187 in 2020 due in a large part to moratoriums and other protections enacted during the public health crisis.

The total stayed historically low in 2021, at 42,090, as many renters were able to stay afloat thanks to federal financial aid.

With the protections lifted and rent assistance funds running out, eviction numbers returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 before surging last year as the cost of housing soared.

Evictions can affect different types of renters, judge says

Huberman said that as a judge she sees a wide range of Valley residents facing eviction.

“I have seen seniors, I’ve seen people tell me that they’re priced out because they’re on a fixed income and the rent continues to go up,” she said.

Huberman said families and first-time renters have also been susceptible.

“Everybody signs their first lease with every intention of paying and with the dream of finally having their home,” she said. “And then, one month of some setback and they find themselves in this situation. So, we do see a little of everything.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Balin Overstolz-McNair contributed to this report.

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Metro Phoenix eviction filings surged to near-record level last year