Laying Down the Law – What Landlords Need To Know About Tenancy At Sufferance

Written by Columnist:
Christopher J. Charles, Esq.


Under Arizona law, tenancy at sufferance is the period of time after a lease has expired during which a tenant does not have tenancy because the landlord has not given permission for the tenant to possess the property. However, Arizona law does not consider the tenant to be trespassing because the landlord agreed at one time to rent to them.

The following qualifications must be met for a tenancy at sufferance to apply:

  • Expiration of a written lease that is not self-extended or extended by the
  • Landlord objects to the tenant remaining in the
  • Landlord sends tenant a valid notice to quit or notice to pay or
  • Tenant remains in the property after receiving landlord’s notice to quit or notice to pay or


Options for Landlords

Residential tenants at sufferance are still protected under the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, but there are still some options for landlords in dealing with tenant holdovers, including the following:

Buyout: A landlord may offer to pay a holdover tenant to leave the property. Sometimes referred to as “cash for keys.” This is most common following a foreclosure.

New lease: A landlord may offer a new lease agreement, which would end the tenancy at sufferance and bind both parties to the new lease agreement.

Eviction: In addition, section 33-1375 of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides landlords with the option to pursue legal action against the tenant: “If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession and if the tenant’s holdover is willful and not in good faith the landlord, in addition, may recover an amount equal to not more than two months’ periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by the landlord, whichever is greater.”


Commercial Properties

While most of the qualifications for tenancy at sufferance are the same for both residential and commercial leases, there are some differences. For example, if a commercial tenant stays after the lease has terminated without the landlord’s permission, the lease transitions to a month-to-month tenancy at the same rate. Either party may then terminate this temporary lease by giving 10 days’ notice to the other party.

If you are a landlord or property manager and have questions concerning leases, evictions, or lockouts, call our office today to schedule a consultation with Mr. Charles.

Christopher J. Charles is the founder and Managing Partner of Provident Law®. He is a State Bar Certified Real Estate Specialist and a former “Broker Hotline Attorney” for the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (the “AAR”). Mr. Charles holds the AV® Preeminent Rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system which connotes the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He serves as an Arbitrator and Mediator for the AAR regarding real estate disputes; and he served on the State Bar of Arizona’s Civil Jury Instructions Committee where he helped draft the Agency Instructions and the Residential Landlord/Tenant Eviction Jury Instructions. Christopher teaches continuing education classes at the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business and he can be reached at or at 480-388-3343.