By Rebekah L. Sanders | Arizona Republic
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on (July 22) rejected a challenge to Gov. Doug Ducey’s eviction moratorium, which gives tenants facing hardship from COVID-19 the ability to remain temporarily in their homes if they file certain paperwork.
Phoenix landlord Ann Gregory sued the governor and a lower-court judge, claiming the moratorium unconstitutionally prevented her from evicting a family living in her Surprise rental home who owed nearly $4,000 in unpaid rent and fees. The tenants said they had lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The lawsuit argued the governor exceeded his authority, violated the Arizona Constitution and failed to compensate landlords for losses since Ducey in late March delayed eviction enforcement for thousands of Arizona renters who have suffered financially or become sick in the pandemic. The governor recently extended the moratorium until Oct. 31, as long as tenants meet requirements.
Not an abuse of Ducey’s power
Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury said the governor did not abuse his authority when he delayed eviction enforcement, and that he made the decision in the interest of public health and provided judges the flexibility to order evictions to proceed, if warranted.
The eviction moratorium “does not constitute an abuse of Governor Ducey’s discretion,” Coury wrote in his ruling. “The rational basis of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, by promoting physical distancing through the delay of evictions, exists and supports” the executive order.
Brian Stanley, the attorney representing Gregory Real Estate and Management, argued the government should pay landlords for the loss of rent.
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Related: Governor Ducey Extends COVID-19 Eviction Protections (July 16, 2020)