Utah is becoming a great place to move in, considering its high employment rate. This opens up opportunities for all kinds of tenants, which also opens up the opportunity for landlords to rent their property to these potential tenants. While this sounds simple enough, there are a set of Utah landlord tenant laws that both parties have to follow to keep a healthy leasing relationship in the state of Utah.
It's important to note that state laws may vary in each one. Naturally, the Utah landlord-tenant laws also have their set of rights and obligations for landlords and tenants to follow. In this article, we're going to take a look at these leasing laws and clauses in the Utah state since this information can help both parties to properly understand what is happening at the time of drafting a rental agreement document.
Keep in mind that this is a general overview of these laws, but you may need additional information if you have a specific rental case on your hands. In that case, we suggest that you seek legal advice from a real estate manager to get an in-depth analysis of your circumstances.
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Now, let’s dive in.
What Are Landlord-Tenant Laws?
These are a set of legal clauses that state your rights and duties as a landlord or tenant. Normally, these rules may be adjusted to fit the landlord's needs, but it's important to note that according to fair housing laws in the state, the tenant must also have their benefits specified in the rental agreement. Knowing the Utah landlord tenant laws can help prevent any tenancy dispute from going to court.
What Is a Lease Agreement?
A lease agreement (or rental agreement) is a document that states a landlord's condition for leasing their property to the tenant. These rules may be tailored to fit the landlords' needs, but they must be compliant with the Utah landlord-tenant laws; otherwise, the tenant may seek legal advice in a court of law if there are any issues that may violate their integrity as a person.
Written lease agreements are a legal requirement in this state for leases longer than 12 months. However, it's highly recommended for Utah landlords to provide a written lease regardless of the period they're planning to lease their rental property since it's the only physical proof that both parties have of everything that was agreed upon.
Leases in Utah must disclose the following information to comply with the state law:
- Name and address of the property owner.
- Conditions for repairs.
- Description and address of the leased property.
- Conditions to pay rent (Due date, late fees, grace periods, etc.)
- Conditions for entry.
- Security deposit amount and return policy.
Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities in Utah
Utah landlords have the legal right to collect rent payments on time, send a notice for the lease termination if the tenant doesn't comply with the required rules, and use the security deposit to deduct costs from damages that go beyond reasonable wear and tear. Additionally, state laws allow landlords to execute proper eviction claims in the case that the tenant refuses to leave the rental property.
Landlords must provide a safe rental unit that complies with local housing regulations, as well as the required repairs for any damages that the tenant reports with advanced notice. A notice should be sent if the damages exceed regular wear and tear, and the landlord must respond within a reasonable amount of time (which is generally a 3-day notice). If the landlord fails to respond within this required 3-day time frame, and the unit is deemed uninhabitable, the tenant may seek legal advice in a court of law or deduct the cost of damages from the next month of rent.
It's important to note that while the tenant can deduct the repairs from the next month of rent, the repairs may not cost more than two months of rent.
Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities in Utah
Tenant rights allow them to live in a safe rental unit that complies with local housing laws and regulations, as well as seeking housing in a place that doesn't discriminate against them. The tenant may also be able to request any required repairs for excessive damages in the rental unit. In these cases, the renter must respond within a reasonable time frame; if they don't, they may be exposed to legal consequences.
Additionally, Utah tenants can deduct the repair costs from the next month of rent if the landlord doesn't respond within a 3-day notice.
Every tenant must comply with a particular set of guidelines if they want to have a healthy relationship with their renter throughout the tenancy period. Here's an overview of the most general conditions found in a lease agreement:
- Keep the unit in good repair so that it complies with local housing guidelines.
- Provide regular maintenance to fixtures and utilities.
- Not disturb other neighbors or tenants in the area.
- Pay rent on the day it's due.
Utah Landlord-Tenant Law - General Clauses
Most of the guidelines and laws you're going to read below can be found in the Utah Code (Title 57, Chapter 16). This statute also mentions some additional information regarding mandatory disclosure clauses for rent, security deposits, eviction/termination, and other regulations.
There are not many rent clauses or rent control policies in Utah law, meaning that the landlord may charge any amount they consider appropriate for their tenancy. Additionally, there aren't any limits on how much landlords can increase the price of rent; in these cases, landlords are not required to give any advanced notice to the tenant before raising prices.
Late Fees and Grace Periods
Landlords are not required by law to include late fees or grace periods for their tenants. However, most of them decide to do it to encourage tenants to pay rent on time. Considering that landlords don't have to include grace periods for their tenants, they are legally allowed to charge late fees as soon as the rent is late.
While the fees can be any amount that the landlord wants, their amount should be reasonable for the tenants.
A security deposit is something that Utah landlords can request their tenants to cover any unexpected issues, such as unpaid rent or damages to the rental property. According to local landlord-tenant laws, the landlord can charge any amount they want for the security deposit. The landlord doesn't have to provide a security deposit receipt, but most of them do for safety reasons.
While the landlord has the liberty to collect any amount of deposit they consider appropriate, tenant rights require them to return it to the tenant when a particular period has passed. In that order, landlords must return the security deposit within 30 days of the tenant leaving the rental property. If the landlord doesn't return the security deposit within these 30 days, they may be exposed to legal consequences.
It's important to note that a landlord may be able to withhold the deposit in some particular cases. Landlords must provide an itemized list with advanced notice that contains all the damages that are going to be deducted from the deposit. Normally, a deposit may be withheld for the following reasons:
- Covering unpaid rent or utilities.
- Covering damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear.
A tenant in Utah can terminate the lease when the tenancy expires. However, they must give the following amounts of notice, depending on the type of tenancy:
- Week-to-Week Statute - No statute-
- Month-to-Month Statute - 15 days.
- Quarter-to-Quarter Statute - No statute.
- Year-to-Year Statute - No statute.
As you can see, the only instance in which tenants have to provide advanced notice is on monthly leases; this means that the tenant has 15 days before the lease ends to notify the renter of their purpose of ending the lease. If the tenant fails to send this notice within 15 days, they may not be able to terminate the lease right away.
On the other hand, tenants can terminate the lease early for additional reasons, such as early termination clauses, military duty, breaches in the lease, etc.
Landlords must give a particular type of notice (Usually three days) if they're planning to send a notice of eviction to their tenant. However, the type of notice can vary depending on the reason; these are the most common reasons for eviction in Utah:
- Breaches in the lease - Notice to cure or quit.
- Criminal activity - Notice to quit.
- The tenant refuses to pay rent - Notice to pay or quit.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for Utah.
Following the law in Utah is fairly simple if you take the time to analyze every clause so that you can adapt it to your current case. Remember that if you need any additional help, make sure to talk to a real estate manager.
What are some of the mandatory disclosures that every landlord must include in their agreement?
The following is a list of some additional information that every landlord must include in their lease agreement to prevent legal problems with their tenant:
- Lead-based paint
- Copy of the written lease
- List of pre-existing damages
- Authorized people in the lease.
Does the landlord have the right to enter the property in Utah?
This clause states the regulations for entry to the property. Utah requires landlords to send a written notice to their tenant at least 24 hours before entering. However, both parties are free to adjust these terms to their needs (i.e. adding more days of notice).
How are tenants protected from discrimination in Utah?
According to the Fair Housing Act and the Utah Labor Commissions Antidiscrimination and Labor Division, tenants are protected from any kind of discrimination from their landlord. On that note, landlords in Utah cannot discriminate for any reason involving the tenant's race, gender, nationality, religion, familial status, sex, or disability.
Is Utah Considered a Landlord-Friendly State?
Yes! Considering that there are no rent control policies, the landlord may have more flexibility when it comes to assigning rent payments. On the other hand, the statute for eviction is fairly simpler for landlords.