Arizona Courts have recently ruled in favor of residential and commercial landlords and their ability to enforce secured judgments, even before a judgment is rendered in their favor. A.R.S. §§ 12-1521 and 12-2402(a) (1) allows a creditor to attach the property of the defendant as security for satisfaction of any judgment which may be recovered in the future. The statutes allows this security in this situation but what many creditors and debtors do not know is that the creditor can secure the property before a judgment is rendered when an action is pending for damages and the defendant is about to dispose of or remove his property beyond the jurisdiction of the court in which the action is pending. This is referred to as a provisional remedy.
Provisional remedies provide creditors (now landlords) an option to secure their debt without having a judgement. A creditor can secure a debt on the debtor’s real property, boat, car, bank account, stock, bonds, jewelry, etc. The creditor can essentially garnish and seize any of the above listed property before the court’s judgment is rendered. The debtor, the one who owes the money, would have no choice but to give the creditor the interest.
The idea of securing a debt before the court orders a judgment must sound great to creditors in Arizona but it begs the question, what is the catch? The creditor better have a good case. Arizona courts only grant pre-judgment attachments in limited cases as authorized by Arizona statutes and case laws. The court is reluctant to order pre-judgment attachments because by doing so, the court is essentially declaring the creditor victorious without the debtor being afforded his day in court to present his case.
The good thing for landlords is that they typically have a good case. A tenant occupied the home and failed to tender payment to the landlord. Arizona statutes and Arizona case law will generally allow a landlord to secure the debt before a judgment is rendered. If you are a landlord who is trying to recover a debt, or even a tenant who is worried about a pre-judgment attachment, feel free to contact me at my office.