Also known as Title 78B of the Utah Code, the Utah landlord-tenant law was enacted to regulate the interactions between a landlord and a tenant. The code outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party.
As a Utah property management company we are well rehearsed on the local rental laws, so we compiled a guide to help out. As landlords and tenants in Utah understand this code, they should be able to deal with many legal questions and problems without needing a lawyer. The following is an overview of landlord-tenant laws in Utah.
Utah Landlord Rights to Access Rental Property
A tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of their home. That is, the landlord must ensure that there is no interference with the tenant’s possession and enjoyment of the property. The landlord may, however, enter the lessee’s rental unit under the following circumstances:
- When the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned the property. The landlord has a legal right to enter an abandoned rental unit.
- To show the rental unit to prospective tenants or purchasers. The renter must accommodate the landlord’s reasonable efforts to re-rent the unit if the existing lease is about to expire.
- To make needed repairs or improvements. Landlords can legally enter a tenant’s rental unit to perform maintenance duties.
- Any time there is a genuine emergency. For example, windows left wide open in the face of a driving storm.
- When the lessee gives permission. There’s nothing wrong with agreeing to a landlord’s request to inspect the property for needed repairs.
Except in emergency and abandonment situations, the landlord is required to give the tenant at least a 24 hours written notice. The notice should include the date, time, and the purpose of the intended entry.
In addition, the time of entry should be reasonable. That is, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. during weekdays and between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. during weekends.
Utah Tenant Rights to “Repair and Deduct”
If the landlord hasn’t fixed or addressed a serious problem that truly makes a tenant’s rental unit uninhabitable despite the tenant’s written repair requests, the renter has a right to “Repair and Deduct.”
The following options are available to the renter in Utah:
- Paying the rent and then suing the landlord for the difference between the rent paid and the value of the defective premises.
- Moving out.
- Repairing the problem, or having it repaired by a professional, and deducting the cost from your rent.
- Withholding the rent.
- Calling state or local building or health inspectors.
That being said, tenants should use these options cautiously. Before doing any of the aforementioned, the tenant should make sure that they:
- Can find a comparable unit. Either voluntarily or because the rental unit got closed due to serious code violations reported.
- Are ready for an eviction if a judge finds that they applied the right to “repair and deduct” erroneously.
- Have paid the rent on time. The lessee cannot use the right to “repair and deduct” if they are behind on the rent or in violation of an important lease clause.
- Have followed the proper procedure. For instance, giving the landlord the required amount of notice.
- Ensure the fault isn’t theirs. That is, the problem wasn’t caused by the tenant or the tenant’s guest.
- Ascertain the problem is major. To use the right to “repair and deduct,” the problem in question should be truly serious, not just annoying.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Utah
In Utah, landlords must disclose certain details to tenants. The following are some important disclosures:
- The identity of the landlord and the person authorized to receive legal papers and manage the premises.
- Presence of environmental and health hazards.
- Details on installation and maintenance of smoke detectors and alarms.
- Shared utility arrangements.
- Details on Utah rental laws, such as local rent control rules, and other information such as registered sexual offender database.
- Tenants’ rights to be present at a move-out inspection of the rental property.
- Tenants’ rights to move-in checklists that documents existing damages to the rental property.
- A landlord’s imposition of non-refundable fees.
- Details on security deposits, such as the landlord’s use and return of the deposit.
Utah Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines
A majority of landlords require their tenants to pay a security deposit. A security deposit is intended to cover damage to the rental property caused by the renter’s carelessness and negligence.
At the state level, the Utah law doesn’t limit how much a landlord can ask for a security deposit. However, there may be local laws that specify the amount.
After the tenant moves out, the landlord is required to return all or a portion of the security deposit to the lessee within 30 days. If the landlord doesn’t return the deposit within the required period, the landlord must provide a written list of reasons why the deposit hasn’t been returned.
Utah landlords can withhold deposits for the following reasons:
- The amount was non-refundable or would not be returned for the purpose of cleaning or maintenance.
- The property was damaged in some way.
- Tenant owed rent from some point.
For more information on Utah security deposit limits and deadlines, see Utah Code Annotated § § 57-17-1 to 57-17-5.
Utah Fair Housing Act
Enforcement and administration of the Utah Fair Housing Act are done by the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division (UALD). The Act prohibits landlords against discriminating against anyone who wants to rent or purchase real Utah property (apartments, condos, houses, and so on.) based on certain characteristics.
Such characteristics include disability, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, source of income, religion, sex, color, or race.
Utah Laws on Landlord Retaliation
Landlord retaliation against a tenant exercising their legal rights is illegal in Utah. The following qualify as retaliatory acts if the landlord:
- Limits renter’s access to previously accessible services.
- Increases the tenant’s rent
- Attempts to harass or intimidate the tenant
- Files to evict the renter
- Declines to make requested repairs.
The information contained on this page isn’t a replacement for the Utah landlord-tenant laws. It’s simply an overview of those laws. For specific questions, please seek professional services from a qualified Utah attorney.