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Eviction hearings postponed in Pima County until early May

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TUCSON - Despite an Arizona Supreme Court ruling delaying eviction hearings until April 20 due to COVID-19, hundreds of hearings were on the docket in Pima County this week.

On Tuesday morning, Pima County postponed more than 350 eviction hearings until the week of May 4.

In an executive order signed last month, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey postponed all evictions due to an inability to pay rent because of COVID-19 until the end of July.

Marchetta Sponaas, a Tucson renter, had no idea her hearing was postponed until she showed up for court Tuesday morning.

“My life has been tested here because I had to come down here to begin with,” Sponaas said.

Sponaas has been sidelined from her job as a medical assistant because she has asthma and COPD.

Sponaas told News 4 Tucson she desperately misses being at work on the front lines.

It's even more tough, she said, dealing with a possible eviction.

“I’m in fear that if I go out there, I can’t even work right now, my job grounded me,” she said.

Sponaas continued, "Because of my underlying health issues, I can’t go out and be in the medical field like I’ve wanted to all my life."

"I’ve got a battle going on within myself and now I’m here,” she said.

Attorney Abby Okrent, with the National Lawyers Guild, has been helping renters navigate through this uncertain time.

Okrent said holding eviction hearings during the pandemic sends the wrong message.

“When everybody’s focus is staying at home, staying safe, not getting sick, not getting other people sick," Okrent argued. "It’s very egregious that we’re still moving forward with eviction hearings rather than trying to figure out how to keep people in their homes and keep people safe."