Last month, the Arizona Supreme Court refused the Arizona Multihousing Association’s (AMA) request to challenge the state’s eviction moratorium. The AMA sought review by the state?s high court to consider claims related to Governor Ducey?s order preventing landlords from evicting non-paying tenants.
The AMA?s Challenges
Earlier this year, the AMA, the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona, and several property owners filed suit requesting that the Arizona Supreme Court invalidate the state?s eviction moratorium. The group asked that the Court decide if the governor had exceeded his constitutional authority in preventing evictions from going forward. They argued that the governor’s action interfered with private rental contracts and violated the state constitution?s contracts clause and separation of powers provisions.
Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president of the AMA, was “shocked and disappointed” at the high court’s decision not the hear the case. She said, “We can fully expect to see a rental home foreclosure avalanche in the months to come, or certainly in the beginning of 2021.”
The governor?s executive order expired on October 31, 2020. However, even if the Supreme Court had taken the case, it would not have changed the landlords’ situation. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a national order in place banning COVID-19 related evictions through the remainder of the year.
The Economic Consequences for Landlords
Landlords claim that some tenants have been living in their properties rent-free for over 220 days. Although funds have been made available for eviction relief, according to the AMA, for the most part, they are not reaching property owners. ?Recently, LeVinus stated that only $18 million of the $100 million in eviction-related relief monies have been distributed since the pandemic started.
The AMA hired economist Elliott Pollack to analyze the fiscal impact of the moratorium on landlords. According to a recent article, Pollack?s study revealed that ?if 1% of the more than 919,000 Arizona households who rent did not make payments over a seven-month period, that means a loss of more than $67.7 million.? Pollack also reported that the economic consequences would impact those connected to landlords, such as the contractors they hire, the suppliers they use, and their employees.
Now that the state’s moratorium has expired, there are not any orders in place to attack. However, that will not prevent parties from filing suit over the governor?s past actions. That being said, those claiming economic damages from the state?s eviction moratorium would need to seek review at the trial court level before taking the matter up in the state’s supreme court.
Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who has the expertise you need at every stage of your real estate transaction. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona, and throughout the state of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.