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Rule 11. Initial Appearance and Trial Procedures

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Procedure for Eviction ActionsEffective: January 1, 2023

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions
Effective: January 1, 2023
17B A.R.S. Rules Proc. Evic. Act., Rule 11
Rule 11. Initial Appearance and Trial Procedures
a. In General. All proceedings in eviction actions shall be recorded, either through a recording device or by a certified reporter. Each court shall provide the option for landlords, tenants, attorneys, and witnesses to participate at an initial appearance by telephone or video conference. A court may require participants to provide notice of their intent to participate by telephone or video conference up to two hours before the hearing as is necessary to avoid delaying hearings. A participant may submit such notice via email, facsimile, telephone, or other electronic process. If one participant appears remotely, all other participants must also be permitted to appear remotely. Each court may provide this option routinely to all participants in all initial appearances.
b. Preliminary Procedures. On the date and at the time set for the initial appearance, and after announcing the name of the plaintiff and the defendant, the court shall:
(1) Call the case, identify the parties and any attorneys or representatives present and ascertain that they are properly authorized to represent the parties to the action. As provided by Arizona Supreme Court Rule 31, no property manager or other agent shall be allowed to represent a party unless he or she is the property owner, a sub lessor entitled to possession, or an attorney licensed to practice law and in good standing in Arizona.
(2) State or summarize the material allegations contained in the complaint.
(3) Ask the defendant whether the defendant contests the allegations contained in the complaint.
c. Defendant's Plea.
(1) If the defendant appears and contests any of the factual or legal allegations in the complaint or desires to offer an explanation, the judge should determine whether there is a basis for a legal defense to the complaint either by reviewing a written answer filed pursuant to Rule 7 or by questioning the defendant in open court. If the court determines that a defense or proper counterclaim may exist, the court shall order a trial on the merits. If the trial is to be continued to a later date, the court may require the defendant to file a written answer. No fee may be imposed for filing an answer.
(2) The defendant shall not be required to answer until the initial appearance. At the initial appearance, if the trial is not continued, the defendant may file an oral answer on the record. No answer fee shall be required for an oral answer.
d. Continuances. Whenever possible, the trial should be held on the initial return date. The court may order the continuance of a trial date by up to three court days in justice court or ten days in superior court on the request of a party for good cause shown or to accommodate the demands of the court's calendar, but the court nevertheless shall give priority to hearing and resolving alleged “immediate and irreparable” evictions. No continuance of more than three court days in justice courts or ten days in superior courts may be ordered unless both parties are in agreement.
e. Trial Settings. Contested detainer matters shall be set for a trial by a judge alone unless a jury trial is demanded by the plaintiff in the complaint or by the defendant at or before the initial appearance. Failure to request a jury trial at or before the initial appearance shall be deemed a waiver of that party's right to a jury trial. At the initial appearance, if a jury trial has been demanded, the court shall inquire and determine the factual issues to be determined by the jury. If no factual issues exist for the jury to determine, the matter shall proceed to a trial by the judge alone regarding any legal issues or may disposed of by motion or in accordance with these rules, as appropriate.
(1) Witnesses at trial shall testify under oath or affirmation. Witness testimony may be oral or may be provided by transcript of a deposition if the witness is unavailable.
(2) All evidence taken at trial, or which is attached as an exhibit to a motion, shall be subject to the Arizona Rules of Evidence.
f. Pleading Requirement. Except for those additional damage items contemplated by Rule 13(c)(2), the plaintiff shall not be permitted to advance allegations at the initial appearance or any subsequent trial unless those allegations were properly stated in the complaint. The defendant shall not be permitted to advance allegations at a continued trial that were not included in a written answer or counterclaim or in an oral answer made at the initial appearance.


Added Dec. 9, 2008, effective Jan. 1, 2009. Amended on an emergency basis Aug. 30, 2021, effective Sept. 29, 2021, adopted on a permanent basis effective Jan. 1, 2022; amended on an emergency basis, effective Sept. 30, 2021, adopted on a permanent basis effective Jan. 1, 2022; amended on an emergency basis Aug. 29, 2022, effective Sept. 24, 2022, permanently adopted Dec. 8, 2022, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
17B A. R. S. Rules Proc. Evic. Act., Rule 11, AZ ST EVICTION Rule 11
State Court Rules are current with amendments received and effective through September 15, 2023. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through September 15, 2023.
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