Ducey Pauses Evictions for People Affected by COVID-19

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order on Tuesday to delay the enforcement of evictions of renters affected by the novel coronavirus.

People who are quarantining due to COVID-19 or “facing economic hardship” as a result of the pandemic will not be forcibly removed from their homes as a result of the order, which will remain in effect for the next 120 days.

“Nobody should be forced out of their home because of COVID-19,” said Ducey in the March 24 press release. “This order is about protecting public health and providing relief to families impacted by this virus — whether through sickness or economic hardship. This is the right thing to do to support Arizona families during their time of need and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

According to the executive order, anyone who has been ordered to quarantine as a result of someone in the home being infected with COVID-19, or ordered to quarantine by a licensed medical professional as a result of symptoms defined by the Centers for Disease control, will not be evicted. The protection also applies to individuals who have an underlying health condition that makes them more at-risk for COVID-19.

People who have experienced job loss, pay reduction, the closure of their workplace, or “other pertinent circumstances” as a result of the coronavirus will likewise not be evicted during this time period.

Renters can notify their landlord or property owner of that they’ve experienced these circumstances in writing, with any supporting documentation. Landlords cannot apply any “health and safety” provision in their contract to COVID-19 as a reason for termination of the lease during this time.

Ducey’s order staying evictions mirrors recent federal actions, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suspending all evictions for HUD-financed properties last week.

The same day, the Federal Housing Finance Agency directed the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, collectively referred to as “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus emergency.

The Arizona Multihousing Association, a trade association which represents many rental property owners in the Valley apartment industry, released a statement offering its own “note of caution” following Ducey’s announcement of the order.

“We support taking immediate action to protect and support struggling residents during the COVID-19 crisis, but we also want to offer a note of caution here,” said Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president and CEO of the AMA.

“At the same time as many apartment residents are struggling with income loss, Arizona property owners also are tightening their belts in a huge way,” she said. “These businesses are working hard to meet their monthly obligations: make payroll, pay bank loans and mortgages, and pay their utilities, insurance costs and tax obligations.”

She added that the AMA will work with Ducey and state leaders to find a “comprehensive” solution that balances the needs of property owners.