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'Petty' evictions on the rise in Pima County

"Petty" evictions on the rise in Pima County
Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 07:05:51-05

TUSON, AZ — “I think the patience is wearing thin on both sides,” said Pima County Constable Kristen Randall.

Randall is seeing a rise in eviction loopholes, which she calls “petty” evictions.

Scripps station KGUN9 reported some landlords are circumventing the CDC order by filing eviction complaints alleging breaches in rental agreements.

“The petty ones are like they had a dog, they're not supposed to have a dog, an unauthorized guest, an inoperable car in the yard. And I've seen things like the toilet is clogged, a fire detector wasn't installed properly,” she described.

Those rental "breach" filings are skyrocketing, she said, from about 10 a month to 50.

She's also seen an uptick in illegal evictions. “In landlords turning off electricity and water in units that are being protected by the CDC order.”

Pima County is examining these latest eviction trends.

Comprehensive memos from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry give details to Board Supervisors.

Matt Heinz said he's pushing for help on both sides of the issue.

“I’d like to make sure the county is doing the right things for landlords and property owners to make sure they can get as much aid fund from the federal government as possible, and make sure our renters and tenants are getting a fair shake also,” said Heinz.

Randall said more federal dollars are expected, about $30 million, in the coming months to help both sides.

She's asking landlords to reach out to Pima County constables before taking action against tenants protected by the eviction moratorium.

Huckelberry wrote in one of the memos on Friday the county may contract with Southern Arizona Legal Aid and others to represent defendants facing eviction as well as provide courts more training on the eviction process.