Don’t blame evictions on the court

By: 
QUENTIN TOLBY, Lessons from the Bench

Sept. 16, Arizona Republic, front page headlines; you might have seen the large article, headlines and full color pictures of Judge Huberman and Judge Watts.

I believe the article was very unfair to our courts.

The article says, “The walls were lined with litigants in the courtroom, not knowing they would lose.”

That sounds like the court is unfair and biased.

Ninety percent of all eviction cases are “Did you pay the rent?”

Ninety percent of the defenses are “I do not have the money.”

It is the law and your lease that set down the conditions. Does it break your heart to evict 100 people before lunch? Yes. Does it bother you to know many of these people will be sleeping on the streets? Yes. Does it bother me more when kids are involved? Yes.

But the law does not say the court can order the landlord to give these people free rent or give them more than five days to vacate. No. If the Legislature wants to change the law, the courts will follow the new law. Don’t beat up on the courts for following the lease and the law.

If you want to have 30 days to pay the rent, then ask the landlord to write it into the lease. Don’t sign a lease with a five-day grace period and then complain you only had five days. Don’t complain about late fees if you signed a lease with late fees in it.

The article in the paper said the court only took three minutes to evict someone. Yes. Once the defendants say they did not pay the rent, there is nothing else to talk about.

When you have a courtroom full of people, you do not have time to listen to their stories about losing their job or using the money to pay doctors’ bills. Yes it is sad, but what can the court do about it? When you sign a lease that says you have a five-day grace period and the law says you have five days to get out, don’t blame the court.

The Legislature could pass new laws to make it harder and take more time to evict someone. But that would make the landlords more picky on who they rent to and raise the rent to cover the lost rent during the eviction process.

Lesson: There is no way to sugar coat an eviction.

The Glendale Star

The Glendale Star
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Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
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Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

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