As a landlord, your main concern should be to keep your investment safe at all times. To do this, it’s important to screen tenants, craft a strong lease agreement, and, most importantly, understand local and federal landlord-tenant laws.
These laws stipulate your rights and duties as a landlord and can help keep your property protected in case of legal disputes.
If you own a rental property in Utah, we’ve got you covered! The experts at Reside Rentals have written this guide to help you stay afloat in the real estate industry. Keep reading to learn everything you should know about Utah landlord-tenant laws.
Utah Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Under Utah Code Title 57, landlords and tenants have automatic rights and responsibilities if there’s a rental agreement, either written or oral, or if payment is accepted as rent. Under these laws, renters in Utah have the following rights:
- Right to live in a safe, habitable condition.
- Right for repairs to be made within 1 to 10 days after sending their landlord a written notice.
- Right to legally break a lease early under certain conditions.
Likewise, tenants in Utah have the following responsibilities:
- Pay rent on time.
- Keep the property in safe, clean, and habitable condition.
- Comply with the necessary building and housing codes.
- Keep smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good condition.
- Make small repairs and maintenance.
- Keep themselves and their guests from disturbing neighbors or other tenants.
- Not committing property damage, either deliberately or negligently.
Utah Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
Just like tenants, landlords in Utah have rights and duties. One of their main responsibilities is to keep their rental in safe and clean condition. If you fail to provide the required amenities for habitable housing, tenants could report you to government authorities for unsafe living conditions.
Landlords in Utah must also make repairs within up to 10 days after receiving written notice. If they do not, tenants have the right to end the lease or deduct the costs of repairs from the following rent payment. Plus, they must give tenants at least a day’s notice to enter the property, except in case of an emergency.
In addition to these responsibilities, landlords in Utah have the right to:
- Collect rent promptly. And charge either $75 or 10% of periodic rent in late fees.
- Increase rent by any amount, as often as they choose, as long as they give tenants at least 15 days’ notice.
- Evict tenants in case of lease violations, nonpayment of rent, foreclosure, or illegal activities.
- Deduct from the security deposit to cover the unpaid rent, repairs, cleaning costs, and other fees.
- Be given at least 15 days’ notice if a tenant wishes to terminate the lease early.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Utah
As a rental property owner, it’s crucial to stay up to date with landlord-tenant regulations. This way, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your investment safe from liabilities. Below is a quick overview of key Utah landlord-tenant laws you must be aware of.
1. Tenant Privacy and Landlord’s Right to Enter
Under Utah law, the landlord can only enter the rental property for repairs, inspections, and other necessary business purposes. But they’re required to give tenants at least 24 hours' notice to do so.
2. Maintenance and Repairs
Utah landlords are responsible for keeping the rental clean and habitable. This means maintaining the common areas and plumbing, making sure the heat works in the winter, fixing broken appliances, and ensuring that the property companies comply with safety and building codes. Additionally, landlords are required to make big repairs promptly.
3. Fair Housing Laws
The Utah Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on age, race, nationality, religion, sex, disability, income, or familial status. This means that you, as a landlord, cannot deny a person a rental unit or make drastic changes to their rental agreement under discriminatory reasoning.
Tenants can submit a complaint about a landlord’s violation of fair housing laws. It’s important to note that landlords cannot retaliate to such complaints by evicting, raising rent, or refusing to renew the lease of said tenants.
4. Security Deposit
In Utah, there’s no limit to the amount you can charge for a security deposit. However, to collect a deposit, landlords must provide tenants with a list of damages or give them the option to inspect the rental unit.
Utah landlords can make deductions to the deposit to cover unpaid rent, property damage beyond normal wear and tear, and cleaning costs.
Whether or not they make deductions, landlords have 30 days after the end of the lease to return the security deposit. In turn, tenants can sue for the full amount of the deposit plus $100 for the late return of their deposit.
5. Mandatory Disclosures
As a landlord in Utah, you’re required to make the following disclosures to renters before the start of the tenancy:
- Concentrations of lead-based paint. This only applies to homes built before 1978.
- Authorized agents. Landlords must provide a list with the names and contact information of all parties managing the property, whether it’s a family member or a property management company.
- Methamphetamine contamination. If there has been possible drug contamination and the remediation has not been completed, landlords must inform tenants about it.
6. Renters' Rights to Withhold Rent in Utah
A Utah tenant has several options if a landlord fails to take care of necessary repairs promptly. This includes withholding rent, exercising the right to “repair and deduct,” reporting the landlord for not maintaining inhabitable conditions, and terminating the lease.
7. Small Claims Lawsuits in Utah
Most landlord-tenant disputes in Utah can be settled in Small Claims Court. You, as a landlord, can file a case against a tenant without the need for an attorney as long as the amount claimed doesn’t surpass $15,000.
Understanding your local landlord-tenant laws will help you keep yourself and your property safe from liabilities. Additionally, knowing your rights and responsibilities can significantly reduce the risk of tenant turnover.
Now that you better understand landlord-tenant laws in Utah, you can take the next steps to ensure that you and your tenants comply with these laws.
If you have specific questions about Utah landlord-tenant laws, contact Reside Rental today! Our team can help you with anything from ensuring that your property is in habitable condition to drafting a strong lease agreement.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.