COVID-19 Legal FAQs for Renters in
This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information. Your local city or county may have additional protections for renters.
This page was last updated on July 7, 2020. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
Its information is taken from these sources:Princeton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect TrackerGovernor's order on evictionsArizona court guidanceArizona Law HelpGovernor's power shutoff announcement
- Are there any special protections for renters during the emergency? How long do they last?
Yes, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered a statewide delay on the enforcement of eviction actions, if you provide your landlord with a written notice of your COVID-19 hardship or health problems. It went into effect on March 24, 2020 and ends on July 22, 2020.
This date may be extended, check here for updates.
Arizona renters may also have U.S. national protections against eviction that last through July 2020. Check here below to see if you are eligible for them.
- What do the protections mean for renters?
The protections means that through July 22, 2020 in Arizona:
- Your landlord can still give you a notice to pay your rent or quit.
- Your landlord can still file an eviction claim in court against you.
- Hearings on eviction are still happening in some parts of the state, and the court may still hear an eviction case against you.
- The court may issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
- Law enforcement cannot enforce an existing eviction order to remove you from your home (until July 22nd), if you have provided your landlord with written notice of a COVID-19 hardship or health issue. If your landlord has an order compelling the enforcement of an eviction order (or writ), you should respond to any motion to compel. Reach out to legal help for assistance with this.
- Do I still have to pay rent during the emergency?
Yes, Arizona renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
Also check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
- Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19 hardships. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction. You can use this draft letter you can use from the Arizona courts.
- Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
- Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
- Check for help: If you need financial assistance for housing costs, you may be able to get help.
- Can my landlord evict me during the emergency?
Arizona renters cannot be evicted from their homes if they have provided notice of a COVID-19 hardship or health issue, through July 22.
The Governor's order protects some people from being removed from their homes, if they have:
- Suffered a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19 (job loss, reduction in pay, closure of employment, obligation to care for children, etc.)
- A medical professional's order to quarantine because of diagnosis with the virus or symptoms of it;
- A health condition that makes them more at risk of catching the virus than the average person
The renter must have documentation of these circumstances and show them to their landlord, in order to be protected against eviction. You can use this sample letter to inform your landlord.
Once the emergency period ends, law enforcement can begin to enforce evictions against renters once again.
- You may also have U.S. national protections against eviction that last through July 2020, and that do not depend on proving a COVID-19 hardship. Check here below to see if you are eligible for them.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
- Can my utilities be shut off during the emergency?
During the emergency, Arizona renters are protected from utility shutoffs and late fee charges if they cannot pay their utility bill. They still are responsible for paying their bills during the emergency.
Governor Ducey and the power companies announced on March 26, 2020 that no customer will have power to their home shut off during the emergency, based on an inability to pay.
Also, the power companies will not be allowed to charge any penalties, late fees, or interest for unpaid utility bills during the emergency.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
- Are you eligible for U.S. national protections against eviction?
Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.
Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.
If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)
- Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
- Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
- After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.