Landlord-tenant laws in the State of Utah attempt to strike a balance between the contractual rights of landlords and the statutory rights of tenants. As a landlord enforcing your rights is essential to your financial well-being. However, as a landlord, you also have certain responsibilities to your tenants. A landlord who ignores his/her obligations may find that their rights have been severely limited. Look below for information on the respective rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.
In order to legally evict a tenant, a landlord must strictly follow Utah statutory procedures. As a landlord, should you fail to comply with eviction procedures, your eviction attempt may be stopped cold by a court and you may be ordered to pay damages to your tenant.
Step One: Eviction Notice
To proceed with an eviction, a landlord must first serve a tenant with the proper eviction notice. There are several different types of eviction notices and a landlord must serve the correct notice in light of the circumstances of an individual tenant. Should a landlord fail to serve the correct notice, a court will refuse to proceed with the eviction process and may award damages to the tenant.
Step Two: Lawsuit
Should a tenant fail to comply with the eviction notice within the allotted time, a landlord may next proceed with a lawsuit. The lawsuit should be filed in the county in which the rental property is located. A copy of the Summons and Complaint must be served upon a tenant, after which time he/she will have 3 business days in which to file an Answer with the Court.
Step Three: The Hearing
At the hearing a landlord and tenant will each have an opportunity to present evidence. The judge will observe all court procedures and only certain types of evidence will be allowed.
Generally a judge will make a judgment immediately after the parties have presented their evidence. If the judge rules in favor of eviction, he/she will sign an Order of Restitution (the document that permits eviction).
Step Five: Removal
Three days after a judge has signed the Order of Restitution, a police officer will assist a landlord in removing a tenant and property from the rental unit.