Utah Landlord Tenant Laws

Utah has a number of different state statutes that govern rental law. Most of Utah’s laws are fairly straightforward and not dissimilar from those of other states, but one thing to keep in mind is that the threshold to assume abandonment of the property is lower in Utah than in many other places.

No business license is required to operate rental properties in Utah at the state level, but it is always important to check with local cities and counties to see if they have their own ordinances. The information presented below is current as of this writing, but it is also important to check to see if recent changes to rental law have occurred. This is not intended to be legal advice or to replace the advice provided by a qualified and licensed lawyer.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Utah?

The primary laws in Utah that cover rental relationships are Utah Code Ann 57 and Utah Code Ann 78. Code 57 covers real estate laws, the handling of rental deposits, and also contains the Utah Fit Premises Act, which spells out the conditions for a dwelling to be legally regarded as habitable. Code 78 covers statutes of limitations and the rules and limitations of small claims court.

Security Deposit Rules

Utah establishes no upper limit on security deposit amounts, as specified in Code Ann 57-17. Landlords initially have 30 days to return the security deposit to the tenant at the end of the lease, but if the tenant requests the deposit by mail and gives the landlord a mailing address, that extends the deadline by 15 days. There are no statutes requiring landlords to pay interest on security deposits, to keep the security deposit in a specific type of bank account or to provide a receipt or a record of deposit withholdings. There are also no statutes governing pet fees. Non-refundable deposits are allowed, but the amount and nature of the deposit must be disclosed in the lease.

At move-in, landlords are required to provide the tenant with an itemized checklist detailing each item in the dwelling and the condition it is in, along with any known damage to the property. This same list must be furnished when the tenant moves out, according to Code Ann 57-17-3.

If the landlord or their representative is found to have violated these terms, the tenant is entitled to the full deposit plus $100 in damages and recovery of their court costs, according to Code Ann 57-17-5.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Utah has little in the way of statutes at the state level regarding fees and notice regarding the rent. There are no formal terms providing for grace periods, notice prior to rent increase, default due dates for payments, late fees or prepaid rent. Landlords are also under no requirement to attempt to mitigate damages if the tenant quits the lease.

Returned check fees are limited to a flat amount of $20 under Code Ann 7-15-2. Tenants are allowed to withhold and deduct from rent for failure to provide necessary utilities and for needed repairs. Landlords, in turn, are allowed to recover court and attorney fees in the event of a dispute.

Notice and Entry Rules

Notice for lease termination is covered under Code Ann 78B-6-802. For the most part, tenants must provide at least 15 days notice to the landlord before ending their lease, with the exception of leases that have a fixed end date. There is no statute providing for advance notice of a move-out inspection by the landlord. Landlords generally have three days to terminate a lease for either non-payment or for a violation. The tenant does not necessarily have the right to remedy the lease violation during that time.

Notice of entry by the landlord is covered under Code Ann 57-22-5. 24 hours notice is generally the minimum requirement for most circumstances. Landlords are expressly allowed by state law to enter with notice for non-emergency repairs. Other types of notice are not governed by specific statutes. Lockouts and utility shutoffs are illegal under state law.

Code Ann 78B-6-815 lays out the conditions under which a landlord can consider the dwelling to be abandoned by the tenant. Landlords can consider the property abandoned if the rent is 15 days overdue and they have not seen the tenant during that time, though the tenant’s possessions may still be in the unit. If the tenant has removed their possessions from the unit, the landlord may consider the unit abandoned after one day of overdue rent.

Code Ann 78B-6-816 covers the handling of abandoned personal property by the landlord. Landlords may remove the property to a storage unit and recover the storage and moving costs from the tenant. If they do this, they are required to post notice at the property in a conspicuous place and also mail notice to the tenant if they have their mailing address. The tenant has 15 days from the date of the notice to retrieve their property and compensate the landlord. If they fail to do so, the landlord is allowed to sell the property to recover their costs. It should be noted that motor vehicles are not included under this statute and cannot be taken possession of by the landlord.

Required Disclosures and Notes

The duties of tenants are spelled out by Code Ann 57-22-5, and the duties of landlords are listed under Code Ann 57-22-4.

Landlords must provide their name and address to the renter before the lease begins, as well as the name and address of anyone authorized to manage the property. The landlord must also provide the tenant with a copy of the lease and an itemized list of furnishings in the unit and a report of any damage, as well as disclosure of any lead paint used and an information pamphlet on its dangers. Landlords must provide receptacles for trash removal if there are two or more residential units on the property.

Tenants are required to maintain the premises in a clean and safe state, follow all health board regulations, use facilities in a reasonable manner, not exceed the maximum amount of residents legally allowed for the unit, and respect the quiet enjoyment of other residents on the premises.

Utah has special protections for victims of domestic violence. A landlord may ask for verification of domestic violence victim status. Once provided, the tenant is allowed to terminate their lease early with a copy of a protective order or with a copy of a police report that shows the tenant was not a participant in the violence. The tenant may terminate the lease immediately, but is obligated to pay the landlord 45 days of rent. Landlords must also change or re-key the locks at the tenant request, though they can bill the tenant for the work.

Small Claims Court

Small claims are limited to $10,000 in Utah. Eviction cases are not allowed in small claims court.

Utah Realtor Associations

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