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Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 12 Courts and Civil Proceedings - Section 12-991 Nuisance; applicability; residential property used for crime; action to abate and prevent; notice; definitions

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12-991. Nuisance; applicability; residential property used for crime; action to abate and prevent; notice; definitions

A. Residential property that is regularly used in the commission of a crime is a nuisance, and the criminal activity causing the nuisance shall be enjoined, abated and prevented.

B. If there is reason to believe that a nuisance as described in subsection A of this section exists, the attorney general, the county attorney, the city attorney or a resident of a county or city who is affected by the nuisance may bring an action in superior court against the owner, the owner's managing agent or any other party responsible for the property to abate and prevent the criminal activity.

C. The court shall not assess a civil penalty against any person unless that person knew or had reason to know of the criminal activity.

D. An injunction that is ordered pursuant to this article shall be necessary to protect the health and safety of the public or prevent further criminal activity.

E. An order shall not affect the owner's interest in the property unless all of the following apply:

1. The owner is a defendant in the action.

2. The owner knew of the criminal activity.

3. The owner failed to take reasonable, legally available actions to abate the nuisance.

F. If the owner, the owner's managing agent or the party responsible for the property knows or has reason to know of the criminal activity and fails to take reasonable, legally available actions to abate the nuisance, a governmental authority may abate the nuisance. The court may assess the owner for the cost of abating the nuisance. On recording with the county recorder in the county in which the property is located, the assessment is prior to all other liens, obligations or encumbrances except for prior recorded mortgages, restitution liens, child support liens and general tax liens. A city, town or county may bring an action to enforce the assessment in the superior court in the county in which the property is located.

G. For purposes of this section, an owner, the owner's managing agent or the party responsible for the property is deemed to know or have reason to know of the nuisance if the owner, the owner's managing agent or the party responsible for the property has received notice from a governmental authority of documented reports of criminal offenses occurring on the residential property.

H. A law enforcement agency, a city attorney, a county attorney, the attorney general or any other person who is at least twenty-one years of age may serve the notice provided for in subsection G of this section, either personally or by certified mail. If personal service or service by certified mail cannot be completed or the address of the person to be notified is unknown, notice may be served by publishing the notice three times within ten consecutive days in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is located. In all cases a copy of the notice shall be posted on the premises where the nuisance exists.

I. The notice shall be printed in at least twelve point type in substantially the following form:

Notice

This is formal notice that the property at (insert address and unit number if applicable) has had (insert number of) arrests or (insert number of) documented reports of alleged criminal activity and is considered a nuisance under section 12-991, Arizona Revised Statutes. A copy of the police report numbers is attached. Police reports are available at (insert applicable police agency).

Within five business days you must begin to take action that is legally available to you to abate the nuisance from the property. If you fail to do so, a restraining order to abate and prevent continuing or recurring criminal activity will be pursued.

If you fail to cooperate to abate the nuisance, the appropriate authorities will abate the nuisance and their costs will be a lien on the property.

You may contact (local agency) in order to obtain information on how to abate the nuisance.

J. For the purposes of this article:

1. "Owner" means a person or persons or a legal entity listed as the current title holder as recorded in the official records of the county recorder in the county in which the title is recorded.

2. "Owner's managing agent" means a person, corporation, partnership or limited liability company that is authorized by the owner to operate and manage the property.

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Last modified: August 20, 2013