Utah Legal Services' Utah Renters Handbook
This handbook has been prepared to aid both renters and landlords to understand their
responsibilities as well as rights. While the information is legally accurate, it does not cover all
possible situations and problems. Click for Utah Legal Services contact information.
Please note: the term owner refers to the owner, manager, landlord or person responsible for
renting the dwelling.
The two basic ways of finding a place to rent are the newspaper classified ads and the
yellow pages of the telephone book under "Apartments", or "Real Estate Rental Service" or
"Apartment Finding & Rentals". If you need to find low-cost housing in Salt Lake County, call
the "Housing Outreach Rental Program" at (801) 359-2444. Elsewhere, refer to the last few pages
of this Handbook for organizations and phone numbers.
Low-income people can obtain information about government assisted housing or a list of
available subsidized projects at the local Community Action Program and housing authorities. In
Salt Lake County, the Crossroads Urban Center and JEDI also have information. Phone numbers
are listed in the back of this Handbook.
To apply for government assisted housing, contact a local housing authority or any private landlord who is receiving a subsidy for the apartment building directly from the government.
Rental applications fees may not be allowed in the locality where you want to rent. At the
present time, application fees are restricted in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County outside cities.
If you are asked to pay a fee just to apply for a place, call Utah Legal Services or the local
government to find out if there is an ordinance prohibiting fees in that area. You may also call
local elected officials and get somebody interested in adopting such an ordinance.
Discrimination occurs when you are denied housing because of your
For example, if you are denied an apartment because you are on subsidized housing, this
is source of income discrimination; "adults only" complexes violate the familial status section;
and charging more rent to a family because of their religion is also discrimination. However,
there can be "seniors only" housing if some special rules are met.
It is not illegal to discriminate for reasons other than those listed above.
It is unlawful for any person to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules,
policies, practices or services when such accommodations may be necessary to allow a person
with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. For example, in a building with a
"no pets" rule, that rule must be waived for a person with a visual impairment who uses a service
A resident with a disability who wishes to modify a dwelling unit for increased
accessibly/usability, must be allowed to do so, at his or her own expense, with the possible
obligation to later return the modification to its original condition. For example, a tenant who
needs grab bars in the bathroom must be allowed to install them, but the tenant will have to pay
for the installation and may be required to remove the grab bars and return the bathroom to its
original condition at the end of the tenancy.
Apartment buildings built after 1991 must meet specific design requirements so public
and common use areas and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities and the interior of
covered units must also meet certain accessibility requirements.
If you think you have been discriminated against because of your disability, you have the
right to file a charge of discrimination. The time within which you have to take action may be as
short as six months. You may file with the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division or with
the Utah office of Housing and Urban Development. Contact information for both agencies is in
the back of this handbook.
If you think you have been discriminated against because of your disability or if you live in a new
apartment building that is not accessible, please call the Disability Law Center at (800) 662-9080
Voice or 1-800-550-4182 TTY.
Before you give the landlord any money, ask for a written agreement. There are two kinds
of rental agreements: oral (month-to-month) and written (month-to-month or lease agreements).
It may seem quick, easy and best to simply talk to your landlord, give some money and shake
hands, but remember that things change and memories differ. A written, signed agreement puts
your handshake in writing where you can refer to it and use it to protect your rights. When you
rent, always get and keep a signed copy of the agreement.
Read the proposed agreement before you sign it!
Find out what it really says. If you do not understand it, ask the landlord to explain. If you
understand the explanation, ask the landlord to write down what was said; then sign the
explanation you understand, not the agreement you don't understand. If you do understand the
agreement but don't like it, Don't Sign It. Tell the landlord what you don't like; negotiate to
change what you don't like.
Free copies of a fair rental agreement are available at all Utah Legal Services' offices.
You can propose to use this agreement instead of the one the landlord has. You can also use it to
give you some ideas on what should be in a rental agreement.
Before you sign a lease or rental agreement, make sure it includes the following information:
Before you sign make sure your document does not include:
Whatever the agreement, always go through the apartment and write down a list of all the
furnishings, the condition of the furnishings, walls, carpets, appliances, bathroom fixtures, etc.,
before you agree to rent. Have the landlord sign the list and make sure you both keep a copy of
the signed document. A lease usually states that you will be a tenant for a specific period of time
and the rent is set for the period of the lease. A lease may be good for six months, a year, or a
number of years. A lease can make you stay in a place longer than you want to. If you move
before the lease is up, you will be responsible for paying the rent until the landlord re-rents the
On the other hand, a lease can protect your right to stay in the apartment if the landlord
wants you to move before the lease expires, unless you violate the lease. However, you do not
have the right to stay after the lease ends UNLESS you reach a new agreement with the landlord.
This may not be the case if you are on some types of government assisted housing. The lease may
have specific provisions about this so read it carefully. If there is a clause that a notice is required
before the tenant moves out even if it is at the end of the term, give it. Discuss a new lease or a
continuation of the tenancy on a month-to-month basis with your landlord well before the current
During the term of the lease, the landlord cannot force you to accept any changes other than ones already written into the lease. For example, some leases allow an increase in the rent during its term if the utilities or operating costs increase. If an agreement is reached for you to stay after the term of the lease expires, there may be changes in the contract. If a clause is not changed, then it is still enforceable when you hold over. A lease can be terminated by the landlord only for good cause during its term but it does not have to be renewed.
You may enter a month-to-month agreement when you move in or you can become a
month-to-month tenant by staying after a lease ends with consent of the landlord without signing
a new lease. These agreements can be made in writing or orally (always try to get the agreement
in writing). However, the landlord must serve you with the proper eviction notice (see
"Evictions" to learn about the different notices). Notices of changes in terms - like the rent
amount - should be made at least fifteen days before the change takes effect, which can only be at
the beginning of the next rental period. Tenant's notices of intent to vacate should be made at
least fifteen days before the end of a rental period and the tenant must vacate at the end of the
period. NOTE: The rental agreement may require different times for notices.
Month-to-month agreements do not guarantee the tenant can stay for any definite period
of time. You can be evicted for cause or without cause.
Rental agreements between mobile home owners and parks to occupy a lot must be in
writing and cannot be terminated without cause. Due to this special protection, even if the rental
agreement is considered a "month-to-month" contract, mobile home owners essentially always
get a lease. (See the "Mobile Homes" section in this handbook.)
Note: If there is no cause for eviction, lease contracts can only be terminated before they expire by mutual written agreement. That is, both the landlord and the tenant have to do it together in writing.
Always Get a Receipt for Your Deposit and Your Rent!
Click for info about Deposit Refunds.
If you need help paying rent on a regular basis, you should apply for subsidized housing
(see the "Government Assisted Housing" section in this handbook). To do so, contact the local
housing authority. There is a listing at the end of this booklet. You may also contact the different
landlords that have obtained federal subsidies for their apartment complexes. To locate them, call
a local Community Action Program, Crossroads Urban Center, JEDI, or any information and
referral service. The local library may also have the information you need.
Seniors and disabled people can also apply for rental subsidies with the housing
authorities or private landlords. There are buildings constructed specially for these two special
DO NOT pay your rent in cash without getting a receipt signed by your landlord or
representative. You can prepare a receipt yourself, then have the landlord or manager sign it.
If possible, DO NOT pay your rent by money order unless you deliver it personally and
get a receipt. If a money order is lost in the mail, it takes a long time to trace. In the meantime,
the landlord will want the rent that is legitimately due. This can result in your having to make
two rent payments or being evicted for non-payment of rent. A money order stub or duplicate is
not a receipt. It does not prove you paid your rent, just that you bought a money order.
Payment of rent by check gives you an automatic receipt when the landlord cashes it. Until cashed, you do not have any proof of payment. You can stop payment on a check if it gets lost in the mail. You can also write on the check which month the rent is for to avoid confusion later. For help in getting emergency funding to pay rent, contact your church, Community Action Program, or the Department of Workforce Services.
You have the right to a safe and sanitary home. In Utah, cities and counties have enacted
building and health codes. Buildings in which there are major violations of these codes are not
safe or decent and should not be rented out. State law requires landlords to maintain rental units
in compliance with these local ordinances. You have the right to call a health or housing
inspector if you think there is a code violation in the place you are renting.
When you rent a place to live, you are exchanging money for the right to privacy and to
enjoy the place in peace and quiet. Your landlord or manager retains the right to enter the
property at "reasonable times" to inspect it or make repairs, but you may require they notify you
at least 24 hours in advance before doing so. You should tell them what you consider to be a
"reasonable time." However, the only way to make sure you will be notified in advance is to have
a clause to that effect in your lease.
When you pay money for rent or for deposits, you have the right to a written receipt.
Always get one for cash and money order. A receipt should contain the date, the amount, how it
was applied ("January rent plus late fee" or "paid in full"), and the signature of the person
receiving the payment. If the signature is illegible, the name and title of the person should be
legibly printed underneath. A receipt is often the only way to prove that payment has been made.
When you have a month-to-month agreement, you are entitled to at least fifteen days
notice of any change in your rental agreement. If you have a lease for a specified period of time,
there cannot be any changes other than the ones you agree with or that are permitted by the lease.
If you stay with the landlord's consent without signing a new lease after your lease expires, all the
terms of the expired lease that were not changed are still effective.
You have the right to expect that any repairs the landlord has agreed to make will be
made within a reasonable amount of time. You have the right NOT TO SIGN a lease if you do
not fully agree with its terms. Of course, if you do not sign, the landlord may refuse to enter into
a rental agreement with you.
You have the right to remain in the place you rent until you are legally evicted by a court order or until your lease expires. Landlords do not have the right to lock you out or take your property. Only a sheriff or constable following a court order can evict you.
Pay your full rent on time. However, under certain circumstances, you have the right to
withhold your rent.
Take "reasonable care" of the property you are renting. It is, after all, the landlord's
property and you are paying for the use of it. When you move out of the property, it must be in
the same condition as it was when you moved in, except for normal wear and tear.
Let your landlord know when you are going to be out of town or away from home for a
period of time, and, if possible, how to contact you. If the landlord notices you are gone, but
wasn't informed ahead of time and your rent is not current, the landlord may think you have
abandoned the property. (See "Abandonment.")
Comply with local board of health rules for tenants.
Keep the place clean.
Inform the landlord, in writing, of any necessary repairs as soon as they are needed.
Be considerate of other renters and neighbors. They have the same rights as you. Keep the
noise level in your home down so as not to disturb others.
Abide by all the terms of the lease or rental agreement. If it says "no pets", do not have
Do not increase the number of occupants specified in the rental agreements without
written permission of the owner.
Do not cause damage to the property.
If you have a month-to-month agreement, give the landlord fifteen days written notice
before you move out unless more time is indicated in the contract. If you have a lease and you
need to move before it expires, you need the landlord's approval in writing or you may owe rent
after you move out until the unit is rented.
You lose all of your rights as a renter if you are legally evicted or your lease expires and
you have not moved or made arrangements to hold over.
Remember, you can be evicted even if you are sick, unemployed, have children, or have nowhere to move!
Select tenants in a nondiscriminatory way.
Adopt reasonable rules.
Decide whether the tenant stays after the lease expires, or for another month in a
Inspect the premises with reasonable notice or as agreed by contract.
Retake the apartment if abandoned.
Lawfully evict the tenant.
Deliver possession of the premises on the date the rental agreement starts.
Comply with the law and the health, building, and safety codes of the city or county in
which the property is located.
Allow the tenant, in exchange for rent, to live on the property in peace, without
unreasonably disturbing any tenant or allowing the tenants to disturb each other.
Give the tenant notice of changes in rental terms such as rent increases or any
non-emergency entries. Fifteen days is proper notice in the case of a rent increase in a month to
month contract. Twenty-four hours is proper notice for non-emergency entries.
Maintain the unit in safe and healthy condition and not allow illegal drugs to be made,
sold, or stored there.
Live up to all the terms of the rental agreement.
Follow the legal eviction procedure.
If you own your mobile home, different rules apply to leases. The rental agreement for the
lot must be in writing and must contain the rules of the park that, if broken, may result in
eviction. The rules may be changed and are enforceable 60 days after a copy has been given to
the resident. If the park proposes an amendment to a rule, the residents must be given an
opportunity to discuss the change during the first 30 days after the change is proposed. The rules
have to be related to the health, safety, maintenance and upkeep of the park, or the appropriate
behavior of the residents.
If there is an increase in rent, or changes in dates when payments of rent or services are
due, they are not effective until 60 days after written notice is given to the resident.
In order to insure the safety and good appearance of the park, the park may require a
certain kind of material to make additions or alterations of the exterior of the mobile homes.
However, the park cannot require the resident purchase the material or equipment from a certain
If you want to sell your trailer, the park cannot unreasonably prevent it. However, the park has the right, within reason, to disapprove a prospective buyer who wants to live at the park.
The federal government helps people pay their rent and finances local housing
authorities which own and rent some low-rent units. Eligibility will depend on income, but
also on other factors.
There are programs where a housing authority owns the projects (public housing),
programs where a housing authority pays the subsidy to a landlord on your behalf (the most
common programs are Section 8 Certificates and Vouchers), and others where the subsidy comes
directly from the government to the landlord (project based ). There are also programs for
Seniors and disabled people operated by local housing authorities as well as private landlords.
Tenants pay a minimum rent of at least $25 per month. The government provides a
subsidy (through the housing authority or directly to the landlord) to cover part or all of the
For information about government assisted housing and listings of units, contact the local housing authority, the local Community Action Program, Crossroads Urban Center, JEDI, or a local information and referral service. The local library may have the information you need.
Public housing units are owned and operated by local housing authorities. Applications
are submitted to the housing authorities. Applicants must be eligible as per federal guidelines.
There are waiting lists and the housing authority may have its own policies to determine who will
occupy an available unit.
The addresses and phones numbers for all Utah housing authorities are in the last pages of this handbook.
The two most common Section 8 programs are the "Certificate" and "Voucher"
programs. Applications are submitted to the local housing authorities. Once you obtain your
assistance and know what you will be able to rent, you choose where to live within the
jurisdiction of the housing authority.
The housing authority must inspect and approve the unit before the lease term starts. Landlords in Utah cannot deny you a unit on the basis that you have government assistance
The housing authority will tell you what the maximum rent for the unit can be and determine the part of the rent you will have to pay. If the utilities are not included in the rent, the housing authority will take that into consideration. The government assistance will be paid to your landlord, on your behalf, by the housing authority.
There are NO maximum rents. The housing authority will determine the amount of the government assistance they will pay to your landlord on your behalf. You are responsible for paying the difference. Submit applications at the local housing authority's office.
The local housing authorities provide the government assistance to fix up privately owned buildings. The assistance is tied to the unit. The tenant must be eligible, but if the tenant is evicted or decides to move out, the assistance will remain with the unit for the next occupant. Apply through the manager.
The federal government also subsidizes landlords directly so they can rent units to eligible people and still be assured a profit. To apply for this program, once you have located a subsidized apartment building in the area where you want to rent, you may apply at the manager's office.
If you are disabled or over 60, you can apply at the local housing authority, or at the manager's office after you have located a government assisted apartment building. To locate these buildings, call the local housing authority, the local Community Action Program, Crossroads Urban Center, JEDI, or a local information and referral service. The local library may have the information you need.
If any part of the deposit is not refundable, it must be indicated in writing. When you
move out, your landlord must return the refundable deposit or explain in writing why not. You
must give the landlord a forwarding address in writing when you move out and keep a copy. You
may need it if you have to go to Small Claims Court.
Your landlord can keep part or all of your deposit IF . . .
If your landlord keeps a part or all of your deposit, the landlord must provide you with an itemized list of any deductions made. The landlord must send this list and any remaining deposit money to you within thirty days of your moving out or fifteen days after receiving a forwarding address, whichever is later.
After you move out, if your landlord fails to refund the refundable portion of your deposit
within 30 days or fails to provide you with an itemized list of deductions, you may sue the
landlord or manager for the deposit plus a $100 penalty in Small Claims Court. You do not need
an attorney to file in Small Claims Court. You can file by simply going to the nearest justice or
district court. Addresses are in the telephone book under County or State.
The clerk of the court will help you fill out the necessary papers. If you cannot afford the
filing fee, ask the clerk for an affidavit to allow you to file for free. Ask the clerk how to get the
papers served on your landlord. If the landlord is not served with the papers, the trial will be
postponed. The clerk will tell you the date of your trial. Try to go watch a case before that.
On the day of the trial, arrive at the courthouse early and check with the clerk to find out in which courtroom your trial will take place. The judge will announce your case and ask if everyone is ready. If you have any questions, ask them then. You will take an oath swearing to tell the truth. Tell your story the best you can and present your evidence and witnesses. After the landlord has taken an oath and told their side of the story, the judge will make a decision called a judgment which will indicate how much is owing to whom. Either person can appeal within 10 days and get a NEW trial. The clerk of the court can assist you in collecting your judgment by explaining execution and garnishment procedures. Ask for help.
THE FIVE STEPS
Eviction is a quick legal process by which a landlord can get you out of your rental unit.
The eviction process, including any court proceedings, may take as little as one week. In cases of
evictions from mobile home parks or subsidized housing, see the special sections in this
handbook. Being left homeless is serious business, so it is important to know how the process
The first and most important thing you should know about eviction is: your landlord
cannot lock you out of your home, move you out of your home, or take any property from your
home before going through the five-part eviction process. If you think the eviction is retaliatory,
call Utah Legal Services.
Another important thing you should know is that if you are evicted, the judge may order you to pay the landlord triple damages, meaning three times the daily rent (after the expiration of the eviction notice) and property damage.
The first part of the eviction process occurs when the owner gives you a written notice to
leave the premises.
THERE ARE FIVE TYPES OF EVICTION NOTICES IN UTAH
TYPES OF NOTICES
1. Three-Day Alternative Notice for Non-Payment of Rent
This is the notice the owner must use if you owe rent and they want you to move out. It
must say that you have a choice to either pay the amount owed OR move out within three days.
The three days are three consecutive days. Start counting the day after you are served and include
weekends and holidays.
Q. What happens if you pay within the time allowed?
A. You can stay. If, within three days of receiving the notice, you offer the landlord the rent
amount owed, they must accept it from you and the eviction process is stopped. If you offer the
full amount owed within three days but the landlord refuses to accept it, try to pay again in front
of a witness you can trust. If the landlord refuses, save the money. Do not spend it. You can take
it to the court once the lawsuit is filed or give it to your attorney.
If you disagree that the amount the landlord is asking you to pay is what you actually owe,
the safest procedure is to pay what is asked for and then sue the landlord for the difference in
Small Claims Court.
Q. What happens if you DO NOT pay what the landlord wants?
A. If you DO NOT pay the money within three days, and you DO NOT move out, the
landlord can go on to the second step of eviction, which is to file a lawsuit with the court.
2. Three-Day Notice to Vacate
This is the notice the landlord must use if you are disturbing your neighbors, selling
illegal drugs, violating building or health codes, damaging the property, or illegally subletting.
3. Three-day Notice to Comply or Quit
This is the notice the landlord must use if you have broken any part of the rental
agreement other than causing a nuisance, subletting, damaging property, or being involved with
drugs. This notice must give you a choice to EITHER comply with the provisions of your
agreement within three days, including weekends and holidays, OR leave the premises within
that time. If you DO NOT comply OR LEAVE, the landlord can proceed with the second step of
the eviction process. (As you can see, this notice is worded differently than the one for
non-payment of rent.)
4. Fifteen-Day "No Cause" Notice
This is the notice the landlord must use if, for no specific reason, the landlord simply
wants you to move out. The landlord can only serve this notice if you are on a month-to-month
agreement. The landlord cannot serve this notice if you have a lease that has not expired yet.
Such a notice must be given to you at least fifteen days before the end of your rental period.
However, if your contract indicates a 30-day notice is needed (when there is no other cause to
evict), a 15-day notice would not be proper. If you do not move out by the end of the rental
period, the landlord can continue with the second step of the process.
5. Five Day Notice to "Tenant-at-Will"
This notice can be used if you do not have any agreement with the landlord to live in the
unit as a regular tenant. For example, if you took over someone's apartment without telling the
landlord or if you stay after a lease expires, you did not make any arrangements to stay, and your
rent payment was not accepted. This notice to a "tenant-at-will" must notify you to leave in five
Note: No Notice Is Needed at the End of a Lease!
Unless you have made arrangements to hold over after the lease expires, OR the lease requires a 30 day notice of termination even at the end of the term and you have not received such notice from the landlord, the lease terminates without notice. Read the lease carefully and, for good measure, talk to the landlord before the last month of the term starts so you both know where you stand.
There are four ways to give you an eviction notice:
1. Hand it to you or have someone hand it to you (it does not have to be a Sheriff, police
officer, or constable); or
2. Send a copy by registered or certified mail to your home; or
3. Leave a copy with someone of suitable age at your home or business AND mail a copy to
your address (leaving a notice with a child who is not old enough to be responsible is not
4. Post a copy on your property if you cannot be located and no one responsible is at home.
Your lawyer or Utah Legal Services can tell you whether the notice you received, or the way it was served, is valid.
If you do not comply with the notice you receive, the second step of the eviction process
occurs. The landlord files a complaint and a summons with the court and has someone serve
these papers on you.
You must reply in writing within the time stated on the summons (usually three BUSINESS days counting as the first day the day after you are served). Attached to the summons will be the complaint which explains the landlord's side of the story. You or your attorney must file a paper with the court called an answer, or you will be evicted very quickly. If you don't file your answer with the court on time, the judge will issue a default judgment in favor of your landlord, ordering the sheriff to move you out. If you file your answer and disagree with the complaint, the case will be decided later. You will have a chance to submit documents or testify before the judge decides the case.
If you are also served with another paper that indicates that your landlord has posted a
plaintiff's possession bond, the eviction process has been speeded up. You could get this notice at
the same time you get the summons and complaint or anytime afterward. (Possession bonds are
not used everywhere in Utah.)
You must do one of the following WITHIN THREE BUSINESS DAYS after receiving this notice:
NOTE: Please remember that if you fail to file the Answer or do not properly respond to the Notice of Possession Bond, you will be evicted.
If you file an Answer with the court on time and respond to the Notice of Possession
Bond as explained in STEP 2 above, you will generally have a trial.
You and your landlord present witnesses and other evidence. These trials are like other non criminal cases. You have the right to a jury if you ask.
The fourth step of the eviction process occurs when the judge makes a decision. This
usually happens in court while you and the landlord are both there. Then the decision is put on
paper and signed by the judge.
You will receive a copy of the judgment or order. If the landlord wins, the judge will
order you to move out. If you don't move out, the judge will order the sheriff to move you. The
judgment will order you to pay the landlord whatever money you owe in rent plus treble (triple)
damages. You may also have to pay attorney's fees IF provided for in the rental agreement.
Treble damages are figured by multiplying the daily rent by three for each day you have stayed in
the apartment past the day your eviction notice expired. The judge will also order you to pay for
any damage you have caused to the property and could triple that too.
If the judge decides in your favor, the judgment will order that you remain in your unit.
The judge may also order the landlord to pay you some money. If you have a jury, they will
decide these issues.
Remember, your landlord cannot legally lock you out of your unit or move you out of your unit. Call the police or the sheriff if the landlord tries to take such actions.
You or your attorney can appeal a judgement within ten days after the judge signs it. You will have to pay a filing fee or sign an affidavit. By itself, an appeal does not stop an eviction.
It you fail to respond to the Summons and Complaint, or to the Notice of Possession Bond, the court may issue a default judgment. If you want to have a default judgment undone, you must file a Motion to Set Aside and a Request for Hearing. You must have a legal reason to do so. This paper asks the judge to reopen the case. You can request the forms for these papers at Utah Legal Services.
If you lose in court at Steps 2 or 4, you will be served with an order to vacate and remove
your property - Order of Restitution - within three business days from the day the judge signs the
A form to request a hearing will be attached. This is not an opportunity to fight the
eviction, just to dispute the terms of the order or the way it was enforced. Requesting this hearing
will not stop the order to vacate. To stop the order to vacate, go to the end of this section.
If you do not stop this order, and you do not vacate and remove your property, the sheriff
or constable can enter the premises to remove you and your possessions. They will make a list of
what you have and put it in storage. You will have thirty days to request a hearing or reclaim
your property by paying for the moving costs and storage fees. If somebody else owns any of the
property that is in storage, that person has thirty days to prove that he or she owns it and ask the
sheriff or constable in writing to return it, or request a hearing.
If you do not claim your property or request a hearing within thirty days, your property
will be sold. They will send you notice of the sale at your last known address. If you are present
at the sale, you can say in what order your property should be sold. They can sell only what is
necessary to cover the costs of removal, storage, and the sale, and should release the rest of your
property to you.
If you are not present, your property will be sold to pay for costs and for what the court decided you owe the landlord. If any money is left, they will send it to you if they know where to find you.
If you want to stay in your unit and you lost in court, you will have to file a Motion to Set
Aside Judgment (as explained at the bottom of Step 4) a Motion to Stay, AND a Request for
Hearing. These papers ask the judge to stop the eviction and reopen the case.
NOTE: IF YOU FILE A MOTION TO STAY, YOU WILL HAVE TO DEPOSIT SOME
MONEY WITH THE COURT.
You can request the forms for these papers at Utah Legal Services.
Owners of mobile homes can only be evicted from the park for good cause, such as:
In all cases except in cases of nonpayment, after the service of a notice to comply or
vacate, the resident must continue paying rent to the park until the situation is corrected, but after
the resident is served with court papers, the resident must pay the rent to the court while the
If the eviction is for nonpayment or for bad behavior, the landlord may choose to follow
the regular eviction procedure explained under EVICTION - GENERAL PROCEDURE. For
all the other causes for eviction, the landlord must serve a 20-day summons with the complaint.
To find out how to respond to court papers, turn to the EVICTION - GENERAL PROCEDURE section in this handbook. If the court decides against you, you will have at least 15 days to remove the mobile home from the park lot.
The laws governing evictions from subsidized housing are complicated and undergoing
changes. If you get an eviction notice, contact Utah Legal Services as soon as possible. We will
assess the validity of the eviction and will set up an appointment to discuss your problem.
Make sure you pay your share of the rent on time and comply with your lease. Being evicted may result in termination of the government assistance.
The same quick court process is used here and the same court papers served as for tenants in non-assisted housing.
If you are renting directly from a housing authority, you are in public housing. When you
receive an eviction notice, you have the right to request an informal hearing, and, if they still
want to evict you after this informal meeting, you can request a formal hearing. Request your
hearings in writing and keep a copy of the paper. They can deny you the right of the hearings if
you have been involved in drug activities or any criminal activities that threatened the
health/safety or the peaceful enjoyment of other resident or the housing authority employees.
If you lose at the formal hearing, you will be served with court papers.
Your landlord can assume you have abandoned your home if:
Your landlord can enter the unit without a court order, remove your property, fix up the
unit, and re-rent it to someone else. You are responsible for any rent which becomes due before
the place is re-rented and any damages other than wear and tear.
If you abandon the property and leave behind personal belongings, your landlord can remove your things and store them, and you will be responsible for paying moving and storage costs. The landlord must make "reasonable" efforts to contact you and let you know where your possessions are being stored. If you do not try to recover your property within thirty days, the landlord may sell your property and apply the money toward any rent you owe.
Owners are required by law to keep housing safe and sanitary. You should call the Board
of Health or local building or housing inspector to have the unit inspected for serious problems
that need repair. Tenants now have several options to choose from:
1. Withhold rent to force repairs. This can be RISKY and may result in your landlord
starting eviction proceedings. Choose this method only when there are serious health and safety
problems. For good measure, have the place inspected and get a copy of the report confirming the
bad conditions. Withhold rent only after giving written notice to your landlord asking that the
problems be repaired. If your landlord wants to evict you, the landlord must follow the eviction
procedure which is outlined in this booklet. (See "Eviction") If you do not pay rent, you may
receive a three-day pay or vacate notice. If you pay the rent during that time, you can stay. If you
do not pay and hold out for repairs and the landlord sues you, you must file a written answer
telling the court that you withheld rent because the premises are unsafe or unhealthy.
When you go to court, be sure to subpoena the inspector and the inspection report. The
judge will decide if you had a good reason to withhold rent. If the judge rules against you, you
will be evicted and will have a costly judgment entered against you. You decide if you want to
take this risk.
2. Keep the rent current and then sue your landlord for reimbursement of rent paid - or part
of it - because you could not fully use the premises or enjoy them for a period of time. You may
also sue for damaged property such as furniture damaged by a leaky roof.
3. Give the landlord written notice of the problems, repair, and sue. Tell the landlord exactly
what is wrong and that you expect it to be fixed promptly. If the landlord does not make the
repairs, pay for the repairs yourself (materials, labor, or both), keep the rent current, and sue the
landlord in small claims court for all the money you spent.
4. Use local ordinances to repair and deduct. In Salt Lake City, the fit premises ordinance
gives the landlord from one to four days to make critical repairs after the tenant notifies him or
her of the problem (check the ordinance for deadlines). Critical repairs include: inoperable toilet,
no heat when it is necessary, broken or leaking water pipes posing an immediate threat to life,
safety or health, no running water, or disconnected utilities. IF YOUR RENT IS CURRENT, you
can give written notice to the landlord. If the landlord does not start within the specified time
provided by the ordinance, the tenant can have the problem fixed and deduct up to $400 from the
rent and give the landlord the original receipts (keep copies for yourself). For noncritical repairs,
the tenant has to give the landlord two notices before repairing and deducting the cost from the
rent. The Salt Lake City ordinance does not clarify if the deduction can be made more than once.
In the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County and in West Valley City, the ordinances
are basically the same as for Salt Lake City. In Murray City, the ordinance is almost the same, but
the tenant can deduct one-half of the monthly rent up to $600 per month. If the tenant complies
with the ordinance, the landlord cannot evict the tenant because he or she repairs and deducts the
cost from the rent.
Call the city, county, or Utah Legal Services to find out the time the landlord has to start
making repairs, how the notice(s) should be written, and the ways to serve it/them.
Utah Legal Services will consider representing tenants if there is an inspection report showing major unhealthy or unsafe conditions. Should the landlord try to evict you because you call the inspectors, call Utah Legal Services. Retaliatory evictions are against the law.
Mediation gives people a way to discuss their differences face to face and reach an
agreement with the help of an unbiased person - a mediator.
Landlord/tenant mediation is voluntary. One party contacts a mediator or mediation
program which, in turn, will contact the other party - or parties - to see if they agree to pursue this
A mediator is always present at the parties' meeting and is in charge of facilitating the
communication between them. Mediation methods may vary: the mediator may allow the parties
to discuss their problem and find a way to resolve it themselves, but when the issues are
complicated or the parties' personalities or animosity get in the way, the mediator may meet with
them separately and try to smooth out the differences.
If there is an agreement, it should be put in writing and signed by the parties. In
landlord/tenant cases, such agreements may become binding if approved by a judge.
Community Action Program in Salt Lake City administers a landlord/tenant mediation program in Salt Lake County. If you reside in Salt Lake County and are interested in resolving your rental dispute through mediation, call (801) 359-2444. Elsewhere, check with Utah Dispute Resolution at (801) 532-4841, the court clerk or call the Utah Legal Services office near you for details.
Low cost housing in Utah is in short supply. It is possible that when you try to do the things suggested in this booklet, the landlord will not cooperate knowing that they can rent to someone else who will agree to take the place "as is. " It is possible that you have already rented a place without a written agreement of any kind, and you now have problems. If you attempt to enforce your rights, your landlord may simply give you a fifteen-day eviction notice.
Contact Utah Tenants United (801) 364-7765 in Salt Lake City or a community organization in your area (listed at the end of this booklet) to assist you.
One way renters can help change their position is to work for stronger laws to protect
renters' rights at both the state and local levels. Renters can work with candidates for the
legislature and for city and county offices to make them aware of renters' problems.
Renters should keep their elected officials informed of their housing problems. Utah Issues is an organization that works for better laws for renters.
People should learn how and by whom local policies for housing are set. You must learn about the local housing body: the planners, the city council, the local housing authority, building and health departments, and the Mayor, all of whom make the major decisions that control housing. People can and should provide input into policies that will determine the future of housing in their communities.
It is important that you understand your role and the attorney's role in organizing and negotiating with your landlord. The primary role of the lawyer is to educate you on the law and to be available to back you up on legal matters if necessary (for instance, during negotiation sessions). A lawyer should take a low-key role, not a controlling one, during negotiations and in your organization.
Cooperative (co-op) ownership of housing means ownership and control by the people who live there. Instead of being owned by a landlord, co-op housing is owned and controlled collectively by tenants. They take on the responsibility of doing what the landlord should do: maintaining the building, bookkeeping, paying bills, deciding who lives there, and collecting rent. Co-ops allow each member a vote in how the co-op will run day-to-day and require high-level participation from each member to run well.
There are a number of services available for people without housing. Some of these are only available in certain parts of the state, others are statewide. To find out where help is available, call the phone numbers listed below, or refer to temporary housing and emergency shelters listed here.
Help is available, including assistance with the following: legal services, shelter,
temporary housing, emergency food, federal food programs, medical and dental services,
financial aid, showers and laundry, substance abuse and detoxification services, child care
programs, child abuse protection programs, veterans' services, job services and training, adult
education, clothing and identification cards. To get any of the above services, call the Resources
Salt Lake City Human Services 801-978-3333 4300 N. 2001 S. State Street The Road Home 801-328-8996 210 S. Rio Grande St. Northern Utah Workforce Services 435-752-7242 170 N. Main St., Logan Family Support 435-734-4060 Human Services 435-734-4075 1050 S. 500 W., Brigham City Central Utah Workforce Services Richfield 435-896-1200 Nephi 435-623-1927 Delta 435-864-3860 in Loa 435-836-2732 Southern Utah Human Services Price 435-636-2360 Family Support Castle Dale 435-381-4700 Family Services Moab 435-381-4730 Davis United Way Information 801-497-9111 Weber Ogden Rescue Mission 801-621-4360 1925 Wall St. Provo United Way 801-374-6400 148 N. 100 W Food & Care Coalition 801-373-1825 154 N. 200 W. Uintah Basin Div. of Family Services Vernal 435-781-4250 Workforce Services Roosevelt 435-722-6500 Southern Utah Child and Family Services Cedar City 435-865-5600 Beaver 435-438-2443 Kanab 435-644-5885 TEMPORARY HOUSING & EMERGENCY SHELTERS Salt Lake City Catholic Community Services 2570 W. 1700 S. 84104 801-977-9119 (provides temporary shelter for homeless women and children) Crossroads Urban Center 347 South 400 East 84111 801-364-7765 (food, referrals) Rescue Mission of Salt Lake 463 South 400 West 84101 801-355-1302 (meals, showers, clothing for everyone, shelter for men only) Salvation Army 252 South 500 East 84102 801-322-1253 (emergency welfare, evening meal) The Road Home/Salt Lake Community Shelter and Resource Center 210 South Rio Grande 84101 801-359-4142 Cedar City Iron County Care and Share 140 East 400 South 84720 435-586-5142 (gasoline, food and assistance to abused children) Provo Provo Center for Women and Children in Crisis P. O. Box 1075 84603 801-374-9351 HOTLINE: 801-377-5500 (provides shelter for abused women and children) Utah County Department of Substance Abuse 100 East Center, # 3300 84606 801-370-8427 Food and Care Coalition 164 North 200 West 84603 801-373-1825 (meals, laundry facilities, clothing, food and referral to shelters) Ogden Ogden Rescue Mission 2781 Wall Avenue P. O. Box 625 84401 801-399-3058 Ogden Salvation Army 2615 Grant Avenue 84401 801-621-3580 Your Community Connection 2261 Adams Avenue 84401 801-394-9456 St. Anne's Center 137 West Binford 84401 801-621-5036 RENTERS' GROUPS Mountainlands Community Action Program 257 E. Center, Provo 84606 801-373-8200 Ogden Area Community Action Agency 3159 Grant Avenue 84401 801-399-9281 Salt Lake Community Action 764 S. 200 W., SLC 84101 801-359-2444 Utah Issues 330 W. 500 S., SLC 84104 801-521-2035 Dixie Care and Share 131 N. 300 W., St. George 84770 435-628-3661 HELP IN REPAIRING, REHABILITATING OR MAINTAINING HOUSING Assist, Inc. 218 East 500 South, SLC 84111 801-355-7085 Neighborhood Housing Services (serves 600 North to North Temple, and 500 West to 1500 West) 622 W. 500 N., SLC 84116 801-539-1590 West Valley City Housing Authority 3600 South 2700 West 84119 801-963-3320 (Low interest and 0 interest loans for Rehab to homes, including mobile homes. Grant for emergency repairs REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES Redevelopment Agencies offer low-interest and/or deferred payment loans to rehabilitate housing for low-income households. Contact the Redevelopment Agency nearest you: Davis County 801-451-2587 352 S. 200 W. #1 Lindon City 435-785-5043 100 N. State Logan City 435-750-9800 255 N. Main Mount Pleasant 435-462-2456 115 W. Main Ogden 801-629-8940 Provo 801-379-6160 55 N. University Ave. Price 435-636-3184 432 W. 600 S. Richfield 435-896-6430 Roosevelt 435-722-5001 255 S. State Street Roy 801-774-1020 5015 S. 1900 W. Salt Lake City 801-535-7240 451 S. State Street INFORMATION ABOUT SUBSIDIZED HOUSING Salt Lake Community Action 764 South 200 West, SLC 84101 801-359-2444 Crossroads Urban Center 347 South 400 East, SLC 84111 801-364-7765 JEDI 1268 West 500 North, SLC 84116 801-364-8562 LOW INCOME HOUSING Housing Outreach Rental Program (HORP) 764 South 200 West, SLC 84101 801-359-2444 HOUSING AUTHORITIES Provide rent subsidies Beaver City Housing Authority Beaver Valley Hospital Box 1670, 85 North 400 East 84713 435-438-2531 Bear River Association of Government Housing Authority 170 North Main, Logan 84321 435-752-7242 Cedar City Housing Authority 239 West Highway 56 84720 435-586-8462 Davis County Housing Authority Box 328, 352 South 200 West, #1 Farmington, 84501 801-451-2587 Emery County Housing Authority P. O. Box 551, 95 East Main Castle Dale 84513 435-381-2902 Escalante Valley Housing Authority c/o R. Bryner Wood, Sec. Beryl 84714 435-439-5584 Grand County Housing Authority P. O. Box 729, 302 East Center, Moab 84532 435-259-5891 Millard County Housing Authority P. O. Box 854 71 S. 200 W., Delta 84624 435-864-5024 Ogden City Housing Authority 127 24th Street, #2 84401 801-627-5851 Provo City Housing Authority 650 West 100 North 84601 801-374-1331 St. George City Housing Authority 975 North 1725 West, #101 84770 435-628-3648 Salt Lake City Housing Authority 1776 South West Temple 84115 801-487-2161 Salt Lake County Housing Authority 3595 South Main, SLC 84115 801-284-4400 Tooele County Housing Authority 47 South Main Tooele, UT 84074 phone: 435-843-3199 Myton City Housing Authority dba Housing Authority of Uintah Basin 58 E. 100 N. Roosevelt 84066 435-722-3952 992 W. Main Vernal 84078 435-781-4156 Ute Indian Housing Authority Box 250, Ft. Duchesne 84026 435-722-4656 Utah County Housing Authority 240 East Center, Provo 84606 801-373-8333 Utah Paiute Housing Authority 665 N. 100 E., Cedar City 84720 435-586-1214 Weber County Housing Authority 2380 Washington Blvd. , #230 Ogden 84119 801-399-8791 West Valley City Housing Authority 3600 S. Constitution Blvd. 84119 801-966-3320 FREE WEATHERIZATION Utah Office of Energy Services 324 S. State Str., #500, SLC 84111 801-538-8690 toll free 1-800-662-3633 Provides free weatherization for low-income families. TO REPORT BUILDING CODE VIOLATIONS Building Inspectors Beaver 435-438-6482 105 East Center Brigham City 435-734-2031 1 South Main Cache County 435-752-8328 179 North Main, #19, Logan Cedar City 435-586-2957 110 North Main Clearfield 801-774-7220 140 East Center Kanab 435-644-5315 140 East 100 South Layton 801-546-8520 437 North Wasatch Dr. Logan 435-752-8328 179 North Main, #19 Ogden 801- 629-8950 2484 Washington Blvd. , #230 Provo 801-379-6450 351 West Center, 2nd Floor Roy 801-774-1000 5051 South 1900 West Salt Lake City 801-535-6436 451 South State, Room 406 St. George 435-674-4223 175 East 200 North TO REPORT HEALTH CODE VIOLATIONS Health Departments Beaver 435-438-2482 325 East Center Brigham City 435-734-0845 817 West 950 South Cedar City 435-586-2437 88 East Fiddlers Canyon Road Davis County 801-451-3296 P.O. Box 618 28 E. State Str., #24, Farmington Kanab 435-644-2537 245 South 200 East Logan 435-752-3730 655 East 1300 North Morgan and Weber 801-399-8433 2570 Grant Ave., Ogden Panguitch 435-676-8800 601 N. Main Salt Lake Valley 801-313-6641 788 E. Wood Oak Lane (5380 S.) St. George 435-673-3528 285 West Tabernacle Tremonton 435-257-3318 125 South 100 West TO REPORT DISCRIMINATION Disability Law Center Community Legal Center 205 North 400 West Salt Lake City 84103-1125 Voice/TTY 801-363-1347 FAX 801-363-1437 toll free 800-662-9080 toll free 800-550-4182 TTY Utah Antidiscrimination & Labor Division Utah Labor Commission 160 East 300 South, 3rd Floor P. O. Box 146630 Salt Lake City 84114-6630 801-530-6801 Utah Salt Lake City Field Office U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development 125 S. State Str., #3001 84138 Salt Lake City 84138 801-524-6070
For assistance call: in the Salt Lake valley 801-328-8891 outside the Salt Lake valley toll free 800-662-4245 Monday - Friday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm Office Locations OGDEN (Morgan, Rich, Weber, Cache, Box Elder, north Davis counties) 893 24th Street, Suite 300, Ogden, UT 84401 SALT LAKE CITY (Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit, south Davis counties) 205 North 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 PROVO (Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Grand, Millard, San Juan, Sanpete, Utah, Juab, Wasatch, Uintah, Piute, Sevier, Wayne counties) 455 North University, Suite 100, Provo, UT 84601 CEDAR CITY (Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Washington counties) 965 South Main, Suite 3, Cedar City, UT 84720 May 2003