One of the biggest challenges a landlord can face is a problematic tenant. Although tenant screening goes a long way, it is not always a guarantee. After all, a renter that looks great on paper can turn out to be a big headache. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with problematic tenants efficiently.
Although evicting a tenant should always be the last resort, it’s important that you, as a landlord, understand the eviction process in your state. At Reside Rentals, we know that the eviction process can be stressful and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve written this guide.
The eviction process in Utah can take as little as a month and as much as four months. Although every case is different, the process typically involves the same steps.
First, landlords must serve a written notice to the tenant, specifying the reason for eviction. If the tenant doesn’t fix the issue, the landlord should go on to file an eviction lawsuit.
Keep reading for a step-by-step explanation of the eviction process in Utah!
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
Utah landlords cannot legally evict a tenant without valid cause. Lawful reasons to evict tenants in this state include:
- Nonpayment of rent.
- Holdover tenancy.
- Having no lease, breaking a lease early, or at the end of the lease.
- Illegal subletting.
- Lease violations.
- Illegal activity.
- Committing property damage.
Depending on the reason for eviction, landlords in Utah must serve tenants with a 3 to 15-day written notice to vacate.
Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice in Utah
In Utah, landlords can begin the eviction process by serving tenants with written notice. The notice must be delivered directly to the tenant in person or mailed via certified mail.
If the tenant cannot be found, landlords can leave the notice with someone else or post a copy of the notice in a place where the tenant can see it. These are the four types of eviction notices typically given in Utah:
- 3-day notice to pay rent or quit. If a tenant is late with rent, landlords can serve them a three-day notice to pay or quit. This notice gives tenants three days to pay rent in full or vacate the premises voluntarily.
- 5 to 15-day notice to quit. If tenants have no lease or a month-to-month lease, landlords can serve them with a written notice to end the tenancy at any time. The eviction notice allows tenants 15 days to move out if they have a month-to-month lease and only five days for at-will tenants.
- 3-day notice to cure or vacate. If a tenant violates the terms of the lease, Utah landlords can serve them with a three-day notice to fix the issue or vacate the property.
- 3-day notice to quit. This type of notice is for tenants who sublease the rental unit without their landlord’s permission, commit waste, or are involved in illegal activity. This eviction notice gives tenants three days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.
Tenant Eviction Defenses in Utah
In Utah, there are several reasons why a landlord couldn’t win an eviction case, including:
- Tenants received an invalid or improper notice to quit.
- Tenants are being evicted in retaliation for exercising a legally protected right.
- The landlord accepts rent from tenants after sending a notice to quit.
- The landlord tried to forcibly remove tenants without following the proper process.
- Tenants pay rent or address the issue within the allowed period.
The situations mentioned above are enough for a judge to dismiss the eviction case. If the case is dismissed but issues persist, landlords can send a new notice to quit to restart the eviction process.
Filing a Complaint and Attending the Court Hearing
In Utah, there are two ways landlords can proceed with an eviction action. They can file a complaint in court and then serve the summons and complaint on the tenants within 120 days.
The other option is to serve the eviction notice to tenants first and file the summons and complaint in court in the next 10 days. Typically, the cost of filing a complaint in Utah courts is $90 to $375 in fees.
Once tenants receive written notice, they have three business days to object to or contest the eviction. To do so, they must file a written answer with the court explaining why they shouldn’t be evicted.
If tenants don’t file an answer with the court, the judicial officer will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord without the need for an eviction hearing. If tenants file their answer, the next step would be to attend the occupancy hearing.
Occupancy hearings in Utah must be held within 10 days after tenants file their answers with the court. If the court rules in favor of the landlord at this hearing, there is no need for a second hearing.
However, if the judicial officer cannot determine whether the tenant should be evicted, an eviction trial will be necessary. This trial is typically held within 60 days of the date the complaint was filed with the court.
If Utah landlords don’t have time to wait for the hearings, they can file for a possession bond. This can significantly accelerate the eviction process.
An Order for Restitution Is Issued
Once a judge rules in favor of the landlord, an order for restitution will be issued immediately. The order for restitution is a tenant’s final notice to vacate the rental property before a law officer has to forcibly remove them.
This order can only be served by a sheriff, constable, or private investigator, along with the Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution form.
Once tenants are served with the restitution order, they have three days to move out from the rental unit. The only exception is evictions due to illegal activity. In these cases, tenants may be removed immediately from the dwelling.
Keep in mind that, in Utah, only law enforcement officials are allowed to forcibly remove a tenant from a rental unit. A landlord then has 30 days to return the security deposit.
There are many ways landlords can avoid evictions, from screening tenants to finding amicable ways to deal with issues. However, it’s essential that you understand the eviction process in your state.
After all, you never know when it can come in handy. Now that you know what the eviction process in Utah is like, you are better prepared to keep your rental property protected.
Do you need help dealing with an eviction? Contact Reside Rentals today! Our team of experts will deal with problematic tenants, so you don’t have to.