More tenants show up to Maricopa County hearings as evictions increase

Landlords aren’t showing any slow down in evicting tenants
As evictions hit a 13-year high in Maricopa County, more tenants are showing up virtually to the hearings.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 12:47 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Maricopa County evictions appeared to remain strong in the month of May, but court officials say more people are choosing to tell their side of the story to the judge.

According to data released in May, landlords filed 6,782 eviction cases. While that number is still higher than any pre-pandemic months since 2008, court officials say that filings typically “lull in the early spring,” and are steady before rising as the summer months continue. However, there has also been an increase in tenants choosing to appear for court proceedings of their cases. Since the Maricopa County Justice courts started allowing defendants to virtually attend eviction hearings, less than 15% of renters skipped them compared to nearly 23% this time last year.

“We are still seeing record numbers of tenants actually attending their eviction hearings, thanks largely to our move to hold these proceedings via phone and video rather than requiring them to come to the courthouse,” Scott Davis with the Maricopa County Justice Courts said in a news release.

Before the change, Judge Anna Huberman understands why in some cases people didn’t show up in person to defend themselves from evictions or find out options for their next steps. “So you’re dealing with people who can’t make rent, and will have to miss work and a day of pay,” she said. Huberman said the accessibility is resulting in more of those tenants showing up for filings. “Showing up gives them an opportunity to get information from us on next steps on how they can mitigate their situation even if a judgement is signed,” said Judge Huberman. If you know someone who is struggling to pay their rent, you can find resources by clicking/tapping here.

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