Maricopa County eviction cases ‘surpassing normal’ now

Eviction cases filed in Maricopa County justice courts have been trending upward for months. (Maricopa County Justice Courts)

Eviction cases in Maricopa County have increased to a pace not seen in nearly 15 years.

Data released last week by the county Justice Courts office shows that actions against tenants hit 7,031 in January – “the busiest month since September 2008,” said courts spokesman Scott Davis.

“January’s number was also 13% higher than January 2019 – the year we’ve been calling ‘normal,’ for pandemic comparisons, Davis said. “This work load continues the upward trend that started in June. I think it is safe to say that landlords are not only back to normal, but surpassing normal.”

In January, the Kyrene Justice Court – which covers Ahwatukee and parts of Tempe and Chandler – saw the most eviction cases filed among the 26 justice courts, data shows. Its 442 cases were among four courts with more than 400 each. The other three cover other parts of Phoenix.

Kyrene Justice Court also accounted for the second highest number of eviction cases in 2022 with 3,206 of the total 55,286 cases filed all year across all 26 courts. The only court that saw more than Kyrene was Manistee, which overlaps part of North Phoenix, according to Justice Courts data.

How the county’s overall eviction caseload compares statewide or nationally currently is virtually impossible to determine. While eviction data nationally was reported with regularity as pandemic prohibitions went away, online searches show that most reports now are at least a few years old.

In the face of rising rents nationwide, the U. S. Treasury Department announced that the multi-billion-dollar Emergency Rental Assistance program is “almost fully exhausted” and encouraged state and local government grantees “to continue to use ERA funds to make long-term investments in affordable housing and eviction-prevention infrastructure.”

The City of Phoenix since 2021 has received a total $148.5 million in ERA funds, spending $16.5 million on administrative costs and $124.2 million on direct services, leaving $7.8 million yet to spend, according to the City Manager’s report released last week.

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