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Utah Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs
Utah Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs
Let’s understand Utah landlord-tenant law and regulations through the following –
Do I need to register as a landlord or register the property I am renting out?
It is important to contact the municipality where your rental unit is located. There are some locations that require either landlord registration or unit registration or both. The Utah Apartment Association has initiated state legislation that enforces a “Good Landlord Program” in eleven cities. This has been implemented to reduce the crime rates that have been increasing in cities with large volumes of rental properties. Check to see if your city is one of the eleven by contacting your township or city hall.
What criteria do I need to know when conducting a credit check on an applicant? Is there a limit on how much to charge for a background screening?
It is very important to get to know and understand Fair Housing regulations. In the state of Utah, “source of income” is considered a “protected class” in addition to the federal descriptions. What this means is that a landlord may not discriminate based on the type of income an individual receives or earns as long as it is legal. For instance, if you have a perspective tenant who receives disability income from the Government and qualifies in all other ways; you cannot reject this applicant based on the source of the income. PLEASE NOTE: There are many locales within Utah that have two additional protected classes, specifically “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. Utah does not possess any stated limits on the amount that may be charged for an application fee.
Is there a limit on the amount I may collect for a security deposit?
There are no asserted statutes that limit the amount a landlord may charge a tenant for a security deposit. If any monies are taken as a non-refundable fee/deposit, it must be in writing and agreed to by both landlord and tenant.
After my tenant has moved, how long do I have to send the security deposit back?
A landlord must send a written notification to the tenant within 30 days after the tenant moves out of the residence. This is sent to the tenant’s forwarding address; if the forwarding address is not known or provided, then it will be mailed to the last known address which is most likely the rental units’ address.
The landlord will send a tenant one of four types of notices:
- The full security deposit remittance.
- Partial refund along with a written statement of deductions.
- No refund along with a written statement of deductions.
- No refund along with a written statement of deductions and a balance due.
When my tenant has not paid his rent on time, may I charge a late fee and how much can I charge?
Utah’s rental law does not specifically contain language that limits the amount of money a landlord can charge for a late fee. The amount that is charged should not be so much it is considered a penalty but rather more closely related to any costs incurred by the landlord when the tenant is late in rent. Whatever the amount a landlord decides to charge must be contained in the lease.
The rent payment I received was not honored by the bank. Can I charge a fee for this?
First thing a landlord must do is to notify tenant that the payment has been returned. The landlord may charge no more than a twenty dollar fee but the tenant must be notified first in a manner specified under the Title 7 Financial Institutions Act (Chapter 15, Section 2).
What are the rules for ending a Utah lease agreement?
Generally speaking, the lease will determine how and when a lease will end. When a lease is void of any terms and conditions on how to end a lease, at least fifteen days advance notice is needed by either party to end the lease. Otherwise the lease continues.
What happens if a tenant does not vacate the premises after the ending of our contract?
If the tenant is still residing at the apartment without authorization of the landlord, then the landlord may begin proceedings or an action for possession. A landlord may not just change the locks, remove a tenant’s personal things or forcibly remove a tenant by himself. There are specific notices that must be sent; court procedures to follow and timeframes to go by.
How do I let a tenant know that they will be evicted?
In Utah, there are three types of evictions; a failure to pay, failure to comply or a nuisance violation. Each of these would require the tenant be given notification of three days. Except in nuisance situations which is when a tenant or their guests commit a crime or create a public nuisance, the tenant will have the opportunity to fix the situation. This means either pay any monies due or change the behavior in a failure to comply situation. At the end of three days, if the tenant does not either fix the situation or move out, then the landlord may start the legal procedure called an unlawful detainer action in the local courthouse. In counting the three days, you skip the actual day of service, and count three calendar days starting the day after service.
My tenant wants to pay his rent but I have already filed in court. Can I accept a partial payment and still proceed with the eviction?
If a landlord accepts part of the rent, even though the lawsuit may commence, there is a chance that a judge may not permit the suit to follow through. This may be considered a waiver of the landlord’s right to proceed with the eviction, so it is advisable to always consult with an attorney before accepting a partial payment.
How long does it usually take for eviction?
In the state of Utah, eviction can be a fairly quick legal process, although the timing can vary. But in many cases the entire process from serving notice to court proceedings can take as little as one month.
What do I do with the tenant’s personal items that are left behind?
If there is significant evidence to substantiate that a tenant has abandoned the rental unit and his personal effects, the landlord may enter the unit without a court order to remove the tenant’s personal property, repair and prepare the unit, and re-rent it to someone else. The landlord may remove the tenant’s personal belongings and store them at the tenant’s expense. The landlord MUST make every reasonable attempt to contact the tenant to notify the tenant where his/her belongings are. After 15 days have gone by after making these contact attempts, the landlord may sell the property and apply the money to what is owed, donate the property or dispose of the property in any way deemed necessary. If the tenant was a victim of domestic violence, was hospitalized, or has passed away; a request may be made in writing by the tenant along with proof of the situation to have an additional fifteen days to remove the items. A tenant may remove his own medical equipment, prescription drugs, identification to qualify for government benefits, and/or clothing within five days.
How can I get access to inspect the rental unit? Is it mandatory to notify the renter?
The landlord has the right to enter the property at reasonable times, when proper notice has been given to the tenant, unless in cases of emergency. The tenant may require 24 hours advance notice to be given before entrance again unless an emergency.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
In the state of Utah, the Landlord may instill a policy of no smoking.
What Are Renter’s Rights in Utah?
The right to live in a clean and safe home belongs to the tenant. They are entitled to safe and prompt responses to their threats and problems. They have the right to peace and quiet, and the landlord must give them adequate warning before entering their place.
Is Utah a landlord-friendly state?
Yes! The landlord may have more freedom when it comes to dividing rent payments because there are no rent control laws. The Utah rental law regarding eviction is, however, far easier for landlords.
In Utah, how much advance notice must a landlord provide a renter before they vacate?
At least 15 calendar days before the end of the rental period, the notice must be delivered. If not, the tenant is permitted to remain until the end of the subsequent renting period. Landlords are obligated to provide the extended notice specified under the rental agreement if it is longer than 15 days.
What a landlord Cannot do in Utah?
A landlord is not allowed to forcibly evict the tenant from their home, keep any of their possessions, or lock them out. Tenants can call their lawyer or Utah Legal Services right away if the landlord engages in any of those actions or makes a threat to do so.
Can a landlord kick you out in Utah?
A landlord can kick the tenants out in Utah but with a court order. Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants without a court order. In order to evict a tenant, a landlord must get a court order. A landlord is not permitted to: Change rental property locks without a court order.
How hard is it to evict a tenant in Utah?
It is not as hard as you think. Under Utah landlord-tenant law, landlords must give tenants three days’ notice to fix a problem or vacate the property before filing an eviction lawsuit. From the time the landlord files the case until the tenant vacates the property, the eviction procedure in Utah often takes just a few days or weeks.
In Utah, how much can a landlord increase tenant’s rent?
In Utah, there are no such limitations or restrictions. It means that the landlord has the right to raise the tenant’s rent by $1,000. However, landlords are also impacted by the state of the housing and rental markets.
How often can a landlord raise the rent in Utah?
Utah places no restrictions on how frequently or by how much landlords may raise the rent. Landlords are free to set their own rental rates because there are no rules regulating them.
What is considered landlord harassment in Utah?
When a landlord imposes restrictions intended to tempt a tenant into breaking the terms of the lease or otherwise leaving the rental home that person is currently residing in, that behavior is considered landlord harassment.
In Utah, how long is a landlord required to make repairs?
After you give the landlord notice, they have 24 hours to begin the repairs. You have the right to break your lease and move if your landlord won’t make significant repairs to your home. If you do this, the landlord might file a lawsuit against you for unpaid rent.
Do you have to give a 30-day notice on a month-to-month lease in Utah?
Landlords simply need to give a 15-day notice prior to the end of a month or other periodic term for month-to-month leases or other periodic leases without a set end date. Landlords must still give notice when ending a lease for a valid reason within the period of the lease.
Can the tenant sue the landlord in Utah?
Tenants have the right to file a Small Claims lawsuit against their landlord if they refuse to make the repairs after receiving a written demand or after being contacted by the inspector. The landlord cannot be ordered to make repairs by the judge in small claims. It can only happen for financial gain.
Can the tenant withhold rent in Utah?
As per Utah landlord tenant law, withholding rent is an accepted way to make the landlord make major repairs to the property’s health and safety conditions. However, significant health and safety issues must be addressed through the required renovations.
What is the cost of evicting a tenant in Utah?
In Utah, depending on the amount of damages or past-due rent that the landlord is asking the renter to pay, an eviction might cost $90, $200, or $375. Any necessary document service fees or costs associated with obtaining a warrant to evict the tenant are not included in these sums.
Landlord’s Rights in Utah
A landlord may use the eviction procedure in a courtroom to kick out a tenant who is occupying a room, apartment, home, or mobile home.
A tenant may be asked to leave for the following reasons:
- Avoiding paying for the harm you caused to the unit
- Not paying rent, late fines, or any amounts owing under the lease,
- A breach of the lease,
- The landlord has given you notice to vacate since your lease is up,
- Inappropriate or illegal behavior.
Maximum Security Deposit Limit
Utah doesn’t have any restrictions on the amount that landlords can demand as a security deposit. This does not, however, imply that you should overcharge your tenants.
The standard security deposit requested by landlords is from one to two months’ worth of rent. The majority of the time, this sum is sufficient to shield you from any harm your tenants may cause or violations of the contract.
Additional Pet Deposits
Additionally, landlords in Utah are permitted to request an extra pet deposit. When your tenant vacates, you can use this deposit to repair any harm that a pet may have done to the apartment.
However, those with impairments who have service dogs are excluded from having to pay this payment. According to the federal Fair Housing Act, disability is a protected class. This means that you cannot treat a disabled tenant any differently than you would any other tenant.
The legislation mandates that you provide appropriate accommodations and adaptations for assistance animals, and prohibits you from charging additional pet deposits to tenants who have them.
Nonrefundable Security Deposits
You are permitted to demand a nonrefundable deposit as a landlord in Utah. However, the portion of the deposit that isn’t refundable must be specified in writing. Either the current lease agreement or a separate written document must contain this clause. Additionally, you must let potential tenants know about this information before they sign the lease.
Tenant’s Or Renter’s Rights in Utah
The lease you sign in Utah binds both tenant and landlord for a certain period of time. Unless the lease permits a mid-lease rent rise, the landlord is not permitted to alter the terms of the lease or raise your rent during the period of the agreement. Additionally, unless the tenant breaks a significant term or fails to pay their rent, the tenant cannot be made to vacate the property before the end of your lease.
Tenants might have to give their landlord notice when they’re ready to move. For leases with a set expiration date, no notice is necessary. However, if their lease is month-to-month or has no expiration date, they must offer 15 days’ written notice to end it.
Under Utah landlord tenant law, there are usually repercussions for breaking a lease early, such as being responsible for the balance of the rent owed and sometimes even paying a fine. Utah lease regulations do, however, offer a few valid justifications for breaking a contract without facing repercussions.
How to Break A Lease in Utah Without Being Punished
- The tenant has been enlisted in the military.
- The place is not habitable
- The tenant experienced domestic violence.
- The landlord has harmed you or violated your privacy
Utah Landlord-Tenant Law: Repairs & Maintenance
In order to make the rental unit habitable, landlords are expected to fix and pay for any repairs that were not caused by the tenant.
Sending Notice – The landlord must receive a written request for repairs from the renter. The notice should outline the issue that needs to be fixed, specify how much time the landlord has to address it, grant access to the rental unit so that the repairs can be made, and, finally, mention that the tenant will use the repair-and-deduct method if the landlord does not take action after the corrective period expires. A requirement for habitability must be corrected by the landlord within three calendar days, and any other requirement must be corrected by the landlord within ten calendar days. If there is a hazardous condition in the rental unit, the landlord must start rectifying it after receiving a 24-hour warning.
Landlord Access – The landlord must have access to the rental unit in order to make any repairs that are required. However, unless there is an emergency or the renter no longer resides in the rented property, a landlord is required to provide tenants 24 hours’ notice.
If repairs aren’t made within the specific time period, tenants can take one of the following actions –
- Repair themselves and deduct a reasonable amount from the monthly rent, but the cost of repair must be less than two months’ rent.
- Withhold rent
- Take a legal action
- Rent abatement
- Reporting to public officials