Thousands of Arizona Evictions Loom as Moratorium Set to Expire

July 15, 2020

Legal advocates are preparing for what could be a tsunami of evictions in the next few weeks when a temporary state ban on most evictions expires. 

The federal CARES Act, which was approved in late March, prohibits eviction actions against those who cannot pay rent if the property has a federally backed mortgage or if the rent is federally subsidized. However, researchers found 194 cases in Pima County that appear to have gone forward, even though the properties have federally backed mortgages.

"I'm not a government agency; I'm not a reporter, I'm an old retired lawyer locked in her house," Corrine Cooper, a former law professor who specialized in "uniform code" law, told Arizona Mirror

At first, she thought she'd only find 10 cases. Then she found 20, then 30. Then she realized she was going to need help.

"We know that there are people who have been evicted who shouldn't have been, but what do we do about that is the big question that is on everybody's mind," said Pamela Bridge, director of advocacy and litigation at Community Legal Services.

Until the administrative order, courts were not requiring landlords to inform them if their property had a federally backed mortgage or not. Now, legal advocates like Bridges are trying to figure out ways to communicate with possible tenants that were wrongfully evicted.

Being evicted creates a permanent mark on a person's credit score and also disqualifies them from federally subsidized housing. That means those wrongfully evicted could be in particularly hard spots, Bridges said.

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