How to Report a Landlord in Utah for Unsafe Living Conditions
August 16, 2023
When a renter in Utah can’t obtain necessary repairs, before beginning a court case it’s usually possible to file a report with the proper government departments about the unsafe conditions on the property. Code inspectors have the power to order repairs or fine noncompliant landlords.
What Are Considered Unsafe Living Conditions in Utah?
In Utah, unsafe living conditions exist when a rental property doesn’t have safe and working:
Hot and cold water.
Garbage containers and removal (only in buildings with 3+ rental units).
Required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
Appliances and features specifically provided for in the rental agreement.
Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.
What Should Tenants Do Before Reporting a Violation in Utah?
In most cases, before reporting a violation, a tenant in Utah mustnotify the landlordabout the issue (in writing, except in emergencies) and ask him to begin substantial repairs within 1-10 days, depending on the specific issue.
After receiving a complaint, an inspecting officer might contact the tenant for more information. Then the officer will usually inspect the property and cite the landlord for any code violations.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Salt Lake City?
A tenant in Salt Lake City can report a health or safety violation by calling Civil Enforcement at (801) 535-7225 or using the providedonline form. Most issues will fall under “Communities and Neighborhoods -> Apartment Deficiencies.” Provide contact information, issue details, and location information, and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Ogden?
A tenant in Ogden can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Services at (801) 629-8961 or using the providedonline form. Enter contact information, location, a property description, and detail the nature of the concern, then submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Provo?
A tenant in Provo can report a health or safety violation by calling Development Services at (801) 852-6400 or using the providedonline form. The portal requires account registration. Select a location, describe the issue in detail, attach supplemental documentation if available, and submit.
What Could Happen to a Landlord After a Complaint Is Made in Utah?
After a tenant files a complaint about unsafe living conditions in Utah, an officer may inspect the property. The landlord must fix noted code violations. Otherwise, the landlord could be fined and the local government might file to condemn the property.
“Each owner and his agent renting or leasing a residential rental unit shall maintain that unit in a condition fit for human habitation and in accordance with local ordinances and the rules of the board of health having jurisdiction in the area in which the residential rental unit is located. Each residential rental unit shall have electrical systems, heating, plumbing, and hot and cold water.”
“To protect the physical health and safety of the ordinary renter, an owner shall: (i) maintain common areas of the residential rental unit in a sanitary and safe condition; (ii) maintain electrical systems, plumbing, heating, and hot and cold water; (iii) maintain any air conditioning system in an operable condition; (iv) maintain other appliances and facilities as specifically contracted in the rental agreement; and (v) for buildings containing more than two residential rental units, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for garbage and other waste and arrange for its removal, except to the extent that the renter and owner otherwise agree.”
Utah incorporates the 2018 International Fire Code, with amendments. “An automatic smoke detection system… shall be installed [subject to exceptions]… single- and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed [per code requirements]…”
“Group I-1, I-2, I-4, and R occupancies located in a building containing a fuel-burning appliance or in a building that has an attached garage shall be equipped with single-station carbon monoxide alarms.”
Utah incorporates the 2018 International Fire Code, with amendments. The general obligation is for the building owner to maintain fire safety systems. However, Utah specifically limits this obligation with regard to carbon monoxide detectors only. See the subsequent footnote after this one.
“The building owner shall be responsible to maintain the fire and life safety systems in an operable condition at all times.”
While Utah does legally require carbon monoxide detectors in certain residential settings, there is a statutory exception that makes this requirement generally not one that tenants can ask local governments to enforce against a landlord:
“Subject to Subsection (2) [exceptions for certain new construction], a county may not enforce an ordinance, rule, or regulation requiring the installation or maintenance of a carbon monoxide detector in a residential dwelling against anyone other than the occupant of the dwelling.”
“(a) If a renter believes that the renter’s residential rental unit has a deficient condition, the renter may give the owner written notice as provided in Subsection (2)(b). (b) A notice under Subsection (2)(a) shall: (i) describe each deficient condition; (ii) state that the owner has the corrective period, stated in terms of the applicable number of days, to correct each deficient condition; (iii) state the renter remedy that the renter has chosen if the owner does not, within the corrective period, take substantial action toward correcting each deficient condition; (iv) provide the owner permission to enter the residential rental unit to make corrective action; and (v) be served on the owner as provided in: (A) Section 78B-6-805; or (B) the rental agreement.”
“(a) As used in this Subsection (3), ‘dangerous condition’ means a deficient condition that poses a substantial risk of: (i) imminent loss of life; or (ii) significant physical harm. (b) If a renter believes that the renter’s residential rental unit has a dangerous condition, the renter may notify the owner of the dangerous condition by any means that is reasonable under the circumstances. (c) An owner shall: (i) within 24 hours after receiving notice under Subsection (3)(b) of a dangerous condition, commence remedial action to correct the dangerous condition; and (ii) diligently pursue remedial action to completion. (d) Notice under Subsection (3)(b) of a dangerous condition does not constitute a notice of deficient condition, unless the notice also meets the requirements of Subsection (2).”