Utah Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Utah landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Utah Landlord Tenant Code.

UT Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Utah Code Title 57, Chapter 17 - Residential Renters' Deposit
  • Utah Code Title 57, Chapter 22 - Utah Fit Premises Act
  • Utah Code Title 78b, Chapter 6, Part 8 - Forcible Entry and Detainer

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging around $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

You can screen tenant applicants with a background check or full credit report from RentPrep.

A background check will show a person's history of addresses, evictions, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

A full credit report comes with a basic background check, credit check plus criminal check. A basic background check shows a person's history of addresses, evictions and bankruptcies.

Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks.  Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)

Avoiding Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap.  42 U.S.C. § 3604

*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.

However if the dwelling has four or less rental units and the landlord lives in one of them, then he or she won't have to follow the above Fair Housing laws.  42 U.S.C. § 3603(b)

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Tenancy Agreement

(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)

Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.

To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Utah landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Terms and conditions for security deposit deductions  Utah Code § 57-17-1
  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property
  • Name and address or property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner)
  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Utah landlord tenant law Utah Code § 57-22-5.1.(5), your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • limit or restrict the tenant (or any other person) from calling for help from a public safety agency
  • penalize or evict the tenant if they called for help from a public safety agency

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Security Deposit

As long as the tenant is agreeable, Utah landlord tenant law doesn't limit the maximum amount of security deposit the landlord can ask for. Both the landlord and tenant have to agree on the security deposit amount and include it in the written rental agreement (if there is one). 

If any of the deposit is not refundable, it has stated within the written rental agreement (if there is one).  Utah Code § 57-17-2

There are no Utah landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods and security deposit interest.

Deductions and Returns

Utah landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
  
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions under Utah landlord tenant law Utah Code § 57-17-3 include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Cleaning expenses to return the property to its original condition (before lease began)

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. The tenant has to inform the landlord or landlord's agent where to send this list and any remaining deposit within 30 days (of the lease terminating).

If the landlord fails to follow Utah landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover the full deposit amount plus $100 plus court costs.  Utah Code § 57-17-5

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Salt Lake City, Utah UT

Utah Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

Utah landlord tenant law requires the tenant to pay rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.  Utah Code § 57-22-5.(1)(g)

Late Rent

There are no Utah landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments.

If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.

Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount. In addition, landlords should wait until rent payment is at least three days late before charging late fees.

Raising Rent

There are no specific Utah landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Utah Landlord Tenant Act Utah Code § 57-22-4 requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, hot/cold water and air-conditioning facilities in safe working condition
  • Waste Disposal: Provide outlets for waste disposal and arrange for waste removal (for buildings with more than two residential units)
  • Maintenance: Maintain electrical, plumbing, heating, hot and cold water facilities in safe working condition

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Utah landlord tenant law Utah Code § 57-22-5 also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in rental unit clean (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities
  • Overcrowding: Avoid exceeding the maximum number of people allowed on the property by the lease agreement
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing or harassing other tenant(s) staying in the rental unit

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails to maintain the property, the tenant can give the landlord a written "notice of deficient condition".  Utah Code § 57-22-6.(2)(b)

This notice of deficient condition has to contain the following details:

  • Description of the property defects and problems
  • Landlord has to fix the problems before the *deadline (see below)
  • Tenant shall take corrective action if the problems aren't fixed within the deadline
  • Landlord has permission to enter the property to make repairs

*This deadline is three days if the landlord violates Utah landlord tenant law for property maintenance (see Landlord Duties and Responsibilities above) OR it is 10 days if the landlord violates the rental agreement for property maintenance.  Utah Code § 57-22-6.(2)(a)

If there is a dangerous condition, the deadline shall be 24 hours.  Utah Code § 57-22-6.(3)(c)]

If the landlord fails to fix the problem within the deadline, the tenant has TWO choices:

1. The tenant can terminate the rental agreement

The tenant won't have to pay rent from the day that the landlord was given the notice of deficient condition. The landlord has return the FULL security deposit amount plus any prepaid rents. The tenant shall have to move out of the rental unit within 10 days after the above *deadline has expired.  Utah Code § 57-22-6.(4)(a)(i)

2. The tenant can make repairs and deduct the costs from rent

If the problems can be fixed for less than two month's rent, the tenant can make repairs and deduct the costs from his or her rent. The tenant has to keep all related receipts and give the landlord a copy within five days (once the next rental period has begun).  Utah Code § 57-22-6.(4)(a)(ii)

In BOTH cases, the tenant can also sue the landlord for damages plus court costs and attorney fees.

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Property Access

There are no Utah landlord tenant statutes on when and how the landlord can enter the property.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When does the landlord require the tenant's permission to enter the property?
    Examples: Making repairs, supplying essential services, inspecting for damages, showing property to prospective buyers or tenants
  • How long in advance should the landlord inform the tenant before entering the property?
  • When is the landlord allowed to enter the property without the tenant's permission?
    Examples: Handling emergencies (such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion), tenant has abandoned the property
  • What are the penalties if the tenant refuses the landlord's valid request to enter the property?
  • What are the penalties if the landlord enters the property without the tenant's permission or without a valid reason?

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Subletting

There are no specific Utah landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Park City, Utah UT

Park City, Utah UT

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Before terminating a tenancy, Utah landlord tenant law Utah Code § 78B-6-802.(1)(b) requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance:

Month to month tenancy

15 days

Tenancy at will

5 days

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Landlord failed to maintained property 

1, 3 or 10 days
- See Property Maintenance

Tenant is a victim of domestic violence

Immediate

Tenant is a Victim of Domestic Violence

If the tenant is a victim of domestic violence, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement immediately by giving the landlord a written notice to quit plus one of the following documents:

  • Protection order protecting the tenant against domestic violence
  • Copy of police report describing the tenant as a victim of domestic violence

After giving the landlord this notice, the tenant has to pay him or her an amount equal to 45 days' rent.  Utah Code § 57-22-5.1.(4)

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Eviction

According to Utah landlord tenant law Utah Code § 78B-6-802, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant was late in paying rent

3 days

Tenant sublet or assigned property without landlord's permission

3 days

Tenant caused (or allowed other to cause) property damage

3 days

Tenant was involved in illegal activities on property

3 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement

3 days

Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.

If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant was Late in Paying Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and that the rental agreement shall be terminated if rent isn't paid within three days.  Utah Code § 78B-6-802.(c)

If the rent is paid within three days, then tenancy shall continue.

Tenant was Involved in Illegal Activities on Property

If the tenant engaged in illegal activities on the property, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a written three day notice to quit.  Utah Code § 78B-6-802.(e),(f),(g)

Examples of illegal activities include illegal gambling, street gang activities, prostitution, illegal firearms possession. Unlawful production, sale, distribution or possession of controlled substances are also considered illegal activities.  Utah Code § 78B-6-1107

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement

If the tenant violated the tenancy agreement (in other ways), the landlord can send the tenant a written three day notice to quit.

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within three days, then the tenancy shall continue.  Utah Code § 78B-6-802.(h)

Giving Notice to Quit

Also known as "Eviction Notice" or "Notice of Termination of Tenancy", Utah Code § 78B-6-805 requires the landlord to give the tenant a notice in quit with any of the following methods:

  • Give the notice to the tenant in person
  • Send the notice by registered or certified mail
  • Leave the notice with a person of suitable age on the property (if tenant is absent) AND mail a copy of it to the tenant
  • Post the notice at a highly visible place on the property (if no one is present)

Unlawful Eviction

According to Utah landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing.  Utah Code § 78B-6-814

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to Utah landlord tenant law Utah Code § 78B-6-815, the tenant has abandoned the property when in ONE of the following situations:

  • Tenant is late in paying rent for at least 15 days AND did not inform the landlord that he or she will be away from the property AND there is no proof (other than the tenant's belongings) that the tenant had been staying in the property
  • Tenant is late in paying rent AND did not inform the landlord that he or she will be away from the property AND tenant's belongings have been removed from the property AND there is no proof that the tenant had been staying in the property

Once the property is abandoned, the landlord may enter it and re-rent it.

As long as the landlord makes a proper effort to re-rent the property at a fair rate, the abandoning tenant will be responsible for paying rent until the tenancy ends. In addition, the abandoning tenant has to pay for the costs of re-renting the property and restoring it to original condition before the tenancy (but he or she won't have to pay for damage due to normal wear and tear).

If a new tenant is moving in before the tenancy ends, then the abandoning tenant can stop paying rent once the new tenant moves in.  Utah Code § 78B-6-816.(1)

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If the tenant abandoned the property and left his or her personal belongings behind, the landlord can remove the belongings from the property and store them somewhere else. The landlord has to inform the tenant where the belongings are stored and give the tenant at least 30 days to remove them.  Utah Code § 78B-6-816.(2)

If the tenant doesn't recover the belongings within 30 days, the landlord can donate them to charity or sell them to pay for the following:

  • Cost of moving and storing the abandoned belongings
  • Any remaining rent owed or damages that the tenant is responsible for (after deducting from the security deposit first)

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Resources

Utah Landlord Tenant Law:

Utah Landlord Tenant Handbook: Utah Renters Handbook

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

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