Updated: April 9, 2020

COVID-19 has everyone concerned about their health and safety.  Every day brings new questions, laws, regulations and uneasiness as we collectively face the uncertainty of how quickly the virus will spread or if we have done our part to contain it.

The federal government and state of Arizona have each enacted new laws which affect a landlord’s ability to evict tenants. The federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the state of Arizona issued an Executive Order (Order). The CARES Act is more broad than the Order and trumps state law.

Below, you will find more information about the Order and CARES Act.

On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-14 (Order) delaying residential evictions for those affected by COVID-19. The Order is in effect for 120 days and applies to renters who are quarantined or faced with economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

While the Order does not cover every scenario, below are some questions and answers for tenants, landlords and property managers based on what we know to date.  Updates to this article will occur as we receive further guidance.

Shortly after the Order was implemented, the federal government passed the CARES Act. Included in the CARES Act were several provisions that prevent the eviction of residential tenants of certain real property secured by Federally backed mortgage loans under several federal programs for a 120-day period (Moratorium). The Moratorium began March 27, 2020 and will end July 25, 2020.

Key provisions are:

  •  The landlord of a “covered dwelling” cannot: (A) make, or cause to be made, any filing to initiate a legal action to recover possession of the covered dwelling from the tenant for nonpayment of rent; and (B) impose any fees, penalties or other charges on a tenant for late payment of rent.
  • During the Moratorium, the landlord of a covered dwelling cannot: (A) require a tenant to vacate a dwelling unit located in the applicable property before the date that is 30 days after the date the tenant is provided a notice to vacate; and (B) issue a notice to vacate until after the expiration of the Moratorium.

Q. Does Federal law trump State law?

A. Yes.  Because Federal law trumps State law, that means if the property is covered under the CARES Act, the landlord may not initiate legal action to evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent.  The landlord may also not charge the tenant for late fees, penalties, etc.

Q. How do I know if the property has a federally backed mortgage?

A. You can call your mortgage servicer and ask. You can also find a list of federal agencies and entities at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/ 


About the Author: Scott M. Drucker, Esq., a licensed Arizona attorney, is General Counsel & Assistant CEO for the Arizona REALTORS® serving as the primary legal advisor to the association. 

This article is of a general nature and reflects only the opinion of the author at the time it was drafted. It is not intended as definitive legal advice, and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.