National Lawyers Guild – Southern Arizona Chapter
Alan Dicker, Southern Arizona NLG Student Organizer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RE: Tenants affected by COVID-19 need to know: evictions suspended, written notice required
With the April 1 rent deadline looming for many Arizonans, the Southern Arizona Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has released a template “Dear Landlord” letter that renters can use to give notice to their landlords that, as a result of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be unable to pay rent.
“With estimates that the unemployment rate in the U.S. might reach as high as 30%, and so many Arizonans already struggling, the reality is that making rent is going to be a struggle — if not impossible — for many Arizonans,” said Abby Okrent, one of the chapter’s organizers. “Governor Ducey’s Executive Order, which postpones evictions for 120 days if the tenant cannot pay due to COVID-19, is a critical support measure for Arizona renters, who might have otherwise been tempted to turn to predatory lenders and pawnshops to make rent, or have to choose between rent and food.” In addition to protecting tenants from evictions resulting from non-payment of rent due to COVID-19, the Executive Order also clarifies that having a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19 are not legal grounds for eviction.
The Southern Arizona NLG has released a one-page fact sheet on what tenants’ rights and responsibilities are under state law, along with the letter template. “We know that this temporary halt of evictions is neither a complete nor a long term solution,” said Okrent. “In the short term, we’re concerned that landlords might look for other excuses to evict tenants who because of this crisis cannot pay rent. And as it stands right now, tenants will become responsible for all unpaid rent when the order expires, unless there are additional measures put in place for rent relief. We urge all tenants to be familiar with their leases, get all agreements with landlords in writing, and organize with other Arizonans who are likely to be in the same position.”
The fact-sheet is available in English and Spanish. The letter is available in English, and in English with Spanish directions (see all links below). The National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest progressive bar association in the country, prioritizing human rights over property interests.
The NLG is available for interviews or comment, in English or Spanish, by email, phone, video, or safely socially-spaced in-person interviews (in Tucson). Contact Alan Dicker, information above.