Utah Eviction Process

Last Updated: November 11, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Utah can take around one to four months, depending on the reason for the eviction and how the landlord chooses to file the eviction case. If the landlord posts a possession bond, the timeline may be shorter than what’s outlined below (read more).

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Introduction. In Utah, there is a legal process landlords must follow to evict a tenant. Landlords must obtain a court order for a lawful eviction. Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Utah.

Step 1: Notice is Posted

Landlords in Utah can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent to avoid eviction.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease or rental agreement, the landlord is required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
  3. No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy if proper notice is given.
  4. Subleasing in Violation of Lease – If the tenant subleases their rental unit in violation of the lease or rental agreement, they can be evicted with proper written notice.
  5. Committing Waste – If a tenant commits waste on the rental property, they must be given written notice before the landlord can begin the eviction process.
  6. Illegal Activity – If a tenant is engaged in illegal activity, they must receive written notice before the landlord can evict them.
NOTES
  • Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property didn’t have the landlord’s permission when moving in, doesn’t have a lease or verbal agreement, and has no history of paying rent, then the normal eviction process may not be applicable (read more).
  • Possession Bond. Landlords have the option of filing a possession bond any time after the complaint is filed and before the final judgment is issued. If a possession bond is filed, the tenant will have additional responsibilities that are not addressed in this article, and the process may move much more quickly.

Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.

Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.

According to Utah law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods, if any, are addressed in the lease or rental agreement.

Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within three business days in order to avoid eviction.

If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement

A tenant can be evicted in Utah if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease or rental agreement.

Utah landlords must provide tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Comply, giving the tenant three calendar days to correct the issue in order to avoid eviction.

Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.

Note that illegal activity is not included in this category.

If the tenant fails to correct the issue after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease

In the state of Utah, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.

Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.

The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.

  • Month-to-Month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 15-Day Notice to Quit. Notice must be served at least 15 calendar days before the end of the rental period or the tenant can stay until the end of the next rental period.
  • At-will Tenants – If the tenancy is at-will, landlords must provide tenants with a 5-Day Notice to Quit. This notice can only be used if there is no written or oral rental agreement. The tenant must leave within five calendar days.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Eviction Process for Subleasing Rental Unit

If the tenant’s lease or rental agreement specifically prohibits subleasing, and the tenant subleases the rental unit anyway, the landlord may evict the original tenant after giving them three days’ written notice. The tenant has three calendar days to vacate the premises.

If the original tenant doesn’t correct the issue before the notice period expires, the landlord may continue with the eviction process.

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Eviction Process for Committing Waste

If tenants engage in waste in or on the rental property, they must be given three days’ written notice before the landlord can move forward with the eviction process. The tenant has three calendars to vacate the rental property.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

In Utah, waste is considered “harm” to the residence. Examples of “waste” include physical harm or failure to maintain the rental property.

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Eviction Process for Illegal Activity

Tenants who are involved in illegal activity, a non-criminal nuisance or a criminal nuisance must be given three days’ notice before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action. This gives the tenant three calendar days to vacate the premises.

In Utah, illegal activity includes:

  • Setting up or carrying on an illegal business.
  • Suffering, permitting or maintaining a “nuisance” on the rental property.
  • Committing a “criminal act” on the rental property.

Non-criminal nuisances include the following:

  • Disturbing other tenants or neighbors.
  • Having visitors or parties so frequently that it interferes with the neighbor’s quiet enjoyment.
  • Unlawful sale, manufacture, service, storage, distribution, dispensing or acquisition of a controlled substance.
  • Gambling, prostitution or weapons violations.
  • Criminal activity carried out by two or more people working together.
  • Criminal activity done for or on behalf of a criminal street gang.
  • Criminal activity done to gain status or credibility with a criminal street gang.

Finally, criminal activity includes:

  • Committing a felony.
  • Criminal acts that affect the health or safety of the landlord or other tenants.
  • Activity that damages the landlord’s or other tenants’ property.
  • Criminal drug activity or criminal gang activity.
  • Violence or threat of violence against landlord or other tenants.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served

Utah landlords have two options to proceed with an eviction action.

They can either file the complaint with the court first and then serve the summons and complaint on the tenant within 120 days of the date the complaint was filed with the court, or they can start by serving the summons and complaint on the tenant and then filing the paperwork with the court.

If landlords choose to serve the tenant first, then they must file the summons and complaint with the court within 10 days of the date the summons and complaint were served on the tenant.

In the state of Utah, filing the complaint with the court costs $90-$375 in filing fees, depending on how much the landlord is asking the tenant to pay in past-due rent, damages, or other costs.

The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by a sheriff, constable, a U.S. Marshal or anyone over the age of 18 who isn’t part of the case  and has not been convicted of a felony violation of a sex offense nor a respondent in a protective order proceeding through one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
  2. Leaving a copy with someone of “suitable” age who resides with the tenant; or
  3. Mailing a copy to the tenant as long as a return receipt is requested.

10-120 days, depending on whether the landlord files the summons and complaint with the court first, or serves them on the tenant first.

Step 3: Answer is Filed

If tenants want to object to, or contest, the eviction, they must file a written answer with the court.

Tenants will have three days after they receive the summons and complaint to file their answer. The answer explains why the tenant doesn’t believe they should be evicted.

If tenants fail to file their answer with the court, the judicial officer will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out without being allowed to attend an eviction hearing.

Tenants may request additional time to file an answer, but this request may or may not be granted.

Three days. Tenants have three days to file an answer with the court once they receive the summons and complaint.

Step 4: Occupancy / Evidentiary Hearing is Held

In Utah, once tenants have filed their answer with the court, the next step is for the landlord or tenant to request an occupancy hearing, to determine whether the tenant is allowed to remain in the rental unit while waiting for the final ruling from the eviction hearing.

The occupancy hearing must be held within 10 days of the date the tenant files their answer with the court. This hearing may also be called an “evidentiary” hearing.

If the landlord does not want to wait 10 days for an occupancy hearing they can file for a possession bond with the court.

It is possible that the court could rule in favor of the landlord at this hearing, and there will not be a second (eviction) hearing.

10 days. The occupancy/evidentiary hearing must be held within 10 days of the date the tenant files their answer with the court.

Step 5: Eviction Trial and Judgment

If the judicial officer decides during the occupancy hearing that an eviction trial is necessary, it will be held within 60 days of the date the complaint was filed with the court.

An eviction hearing will only be held if the judicial officer could not determine whether the tenant should be evicted during the occupancy/evidentiary hearing.

If the tenant fails to appear for the eviction hearing, the judicial officer will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out.

If the judicial officer rules in favor of the landlord, either through a default judgment or at an eviction hearing, an order for restitution will be issued and the eviction process will continue.

Either party can appeal within 10 days of the ruling, or within three days of the ruling for illegal activity/nuisance evictions.

60 days. If a judicial officer feels the eviction hearing is necessary, it will be held within 60 days of the date the complaint was filed with the court.

Step 6: Order for Restitution is Issued

The order for restitution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before a sheriff or constable return to the property to forcibly remove the tenant. Along with the Order of Restitution, the Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution form must be served with it. The form allows the tenant to request a hearing if they disagree with how the Order of Restitution was enforced.

These documents must be served by a sheriff, constable, or private investigator.

If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, then an order for restitution will be issued immediately.

Immediately. The order for restitution will be issued immediately upon judgment in favor of the landlord.

Step 7: Possession of Property is Returned

Once tenants are served with the restitution order, they will have three days to move out of the rental unit before law enforcement officials return to forcibly remove the tenant from the property.

For evictions due to illegal activity, the tenant may be removed immediately.

Three days. The tenant has three days to move out of the rental unit after receiving the order for restitution for all evictions except those due to illegal activity.

Utah Eviction Process Timeline

Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Utah. Therefore, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.

  1. Initial Notice Period – Between 3 and 15 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
  2. Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – 10-120 days, depending on how the landlord starts the eviction case.
  3. Answer is Filed – Three days after the summons is served on the tenant.
  4. Occupancy Hearing is Held – 10 days after the tenant’s answer is filed with the court.
  5. Eviction Trial and Ruling on the Eviction – 60 days after the date the complaint was filed; longer if an appeal is filed.
  6. Issuance of Order for Restitution – Immediately.
  7. Return of Possession – Three days after the order is served on the tenant.
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Additional Information

Tenant’s Abandoned Personal Property. If a tenant leaves behind personal property after the eviction process, the landlord must give the tenant access to retrieve the following items: clothing, identification, financial documents, medical information, prescription medications or medical equipment within five business days.

If there are additional items, the sheriff or constable may remove them from the premises. Storage or moving fees may be applied in this situation. The tenant has 15 calendar days to pay for any fees and claim their personal property. If a tenant does not claim the property, the landlord may donate or sell these items.

Flowchart of Utah Eviction Process

For additional questions about the eviction process in Utah, please refer to the official legislation, Utah Code §78B-6-801 to 78B-6-816, and the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 3 and 4, for more information.