by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.


I own a four-unit apartment building in Phoenix. I am Hispanic, and most of the tenants in this apartment building are Hispanic. For several years I have used a Spanish-language lease. Since the “English Only” law was passed last year, can I still use this Spanish-language lease? If one of the tenants does not pay, and I have to go to court for eviction proceedings, will the judge enforce this Spanish-language lease?


Proposition 103, providing for “English-Only” was passed in November, 2006 by Arizona voters, and became effective December 7, 2006. Proposition 103 only applies to government action, and does not apply to private transactions such as the lease between you and your tenants. The courts should enforce the Spanish-language lease. The eviction complaint and other court paperwork, including the eviction order, would have to be in English. Note: Proposition 103 has numerous exceptions for government action, such as teaching the English language, and promoting tourism and international trade.

The above is for informational purposes only and is not intended as definitive legal or tax advice. You should not act upon this information without seeking independent legal counsel. If you desire legal, tax or other professional advice, please contact your attorney, tax advisor or other professional consultant. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2007, all rights reserved.