by Joe Hoover
What does a "Forcible Entry and Detainer" filing mean? Did the subject break into a residence?
According to D.L. Drain, an Arizona attorney, Forcible Entry and Detainer is an action that a landlord or new property owner can take if the existing occupant refuses to leave after appropriate notice.
This occupant could be either a tenant or original owner of property that was sold at a foreclosure or trustee's sale. The laws governing forcible entry and detainer actions are different depending on whether the property is residential or non-residential.
The tenant/occupant receives a written demand to vacate the property. The term of the period to vacate is dictated by the type of occupancy - whether commercial or residential and whether a tenant or a owner that was foreclosed on. This term normally is either 5 or 7 days, unless the contract states otherwise.
After the 5-7 days expire and the tenant/occupant still refuse to leave then a complaint for a forcible detainer action can be filed. The statutes provide for a very short notice period before a court hearing.
The sole issue at the court hearing is whether or not the tenant/occupant has the right to possession. If they do not then they will be found guilty of a forcible entry and detainer.
The court will enter an order directing the tenant/occupant to vacate within 5 judicial days. After that period has expired the Sheriff's office can then evict the tenants/occupants, remove their personal property and give the rightful owner possession and control of the property.