Arizona courts have recognized claims for constructive eviction, which arise when a landlord intentionally interferes with a tenant's use and occupancy of leased property in a substantial way. When, as a result of such wrongful conduct by a landlord, the tenant is effectively forced to vacate the premises, a claim for constructive eviction arises. A constructive eviction is essentially a special kind of breach of contract claim, as the tenant's claim arises from the landlord's failure to honor the expressed or implied terms of the lease between the parties.
As with any meritorious claim, a tenant claiming a constructive eviction must show that he or she suffered actual damages in order to recover in court. Both the Arizona Supreme Court and the Arizona Court of Appeals have held that the measure of damages in a constructive or wrongful eviction claim is the actual or market value of the term of the remaining lease, plus actual monetary damages such as moving costs, less the rent that would have had to be paid to the landlord. Significantly, as with most breach of contract cases, the courts have held that a wrongful, or constructive eviction, does not allow for the recovery of mental anguish or emotional distress damages without the present of some additional legal basis supporting such a claim.
If you are a commercial or residential tenant and believe you have a claim against your landlord for constructive eviction, you should consult with an Arizona real estate lawyer who has experience handling landlord tenant claims as soon as possible.