Landlords’ Guide to Rental Laws in Utah

As a landlord running your rental business in the state of Utah, researching the various property management laws in your state is always a good idea. Laws on both the federal and state level could have a significant impact on the ways you choose to run your business. 

This article will help you understand some of the most significant Utah landlord tenant rights that you should keep in mind.

Rent and Fees

Rent control is banned in Utah. This means that landlords can charge their tenants whatever amount they choose for rent, and no legal limit can be set.

There is also no regulation on rental application fees for prospective tenants. If an applicant is denied, you are not required to refund the application fee. 

Additionally, if a tenant attempts to submit a rent payment with a check that ends up bouncing, you are allowed to charge that tenant a fee of up to $20.

Lastly, late fees in Utah are regulated in relation to the amount you choose to charge for rent. At most, if a tenant fails to submit a payment by the rent collection date, you can charge them the greater amount between either $75 or 10% the cost of the rent payment. For example, let’s say that you’re charging your tenants rent that is equal to the median monthly rent cost statewide: $2000. The charge of 10% would be greater than $75 and would mean that the average rent late fee could be no greater than $200.

Fair Housing Protections

Like all fifty states, Utah falls under the jurisdiction of the federal Fair Housing Act. Passed in 1968, the act prohibits any form of housing discrimination by landlords or real estate agents based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability. State law adds more Utah rental rights by also banning any form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and source of income. Housing discrimination protections are important to consider as prospective tenants apply to your properties.

Landlords in Utah are permitted to run criminal background checks and consider their results during the tenant screening process. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advises that you do not deny applicants based solely on the existence of a criminal record. Instead, you should consider results on an individual basis and only deny applicants that you feel pose a threat to safety or an inability to follow the guidelines of your lease agreement.

Security Deposits

The amount that you can charge new tenants for an initial security deposit is also unregulated in Utah. The amount is usually equal to about one- or two-months’ rent, but this is at your discretion. 

The full amount of the security deposit must be returned within 30 days of the end of a tenancy. However, you can withhold funds to cover any unpaid rent or bills, damage that goes beyond reasonable wear and tear, or any other unfulfilled costs and fees originally outlined in the rental agreement.

Evictions

If a tenant repeatedly fails to pay their rent on time in spite of late fees, you may want to begin the eviction process. Eviction laws in Utah require the issuance of a three-day rent demand notice. This notice means that a tenant has three days to submit their rent payment before you can file for eviction. 

A grace period, or a time after the rent collection date when tenants can pay rent without the penalty of late fees, is not mandatory in Utah. However, if you choose to give your tenants a grace period, the three days outlined in the rent demand notice cannot begin until after the grace period has ended. For example, if you give your tenants a three-day grace period, the tenant should have a minimum total of six days after the rent collection date to submit a payment before eviction can be filed against them on those grounds. 

Conclusion

In many ways, researching the property management laws in your state is one of the most important jobs you have as a landlord. Knowing how to make informed and compliant decisions is an essential part of keeping your rental business out of legal trouble and giving it the room to flourish.