Utah Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Utah Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Last Updated: January 31, 2024 by Phil Ahn

Quick Facts Answer
Acceptable Deductions Unpaid rent

Costs of damage

Charges outlined in lease

Cleaning costs

Return Deadline 30 days
Itemized Deductions Required
Penalty for Failure to Return Deposit + $100

For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Utah, click here.

Security Deposit Deductions in Utah

In Utah, the following can be deducted from security deposits:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
  • Other charges outlined in the lease
  • Cleaning costs

Most states, such as Utah, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.

If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear in Utah?

“Normal wear and tear” is deterioration that occurs naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it was designed to be used.

Examples include:

  • Gently worn carpets
  • Lightly scratched glass
  • Faded paint and flooring
  • Lightly dirtied grout
  • Loose door handles
  • Stained bath fixtures

“Damage” means destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy.

Examples include:

  • Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
  • Broken tiles or windows
  • Holes in the wall
  • Missing fixtures

Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Utah?

Landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond ordinary wear and tear.


A carpet that is slightly discolored or gently worn will be considered normal wear and tear. A carpet with visible stains, major discoloration and rips will be considered excessively damaged.

Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Utah?

Landlords in Utah can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit.

Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures.

However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.

Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Utah?

Landlords in Utah can chargea cleaning fee if it is specifically stated in the lease agreement, the landlord does not charge for cleaning done as a result of normal wear and tear, and the cleaning fee is reasonable. If the cleaning fee is non-refundable, it must be stated in the lease agreement.

Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Utah?

Yes, in Utah, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear. For example, if the tenant:

  • Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
  • Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
  • Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way

Ordinary wear includes:

  • Minor scrapes from daily use
  • Fading due to sunlight
  • Minor cracks in the original paint

Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.

Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Utah?

Utah law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent.

Landlords can include a provision in the lease agreement that the security deposit cannot be used for the last month’s rent until the tenant vacates the rental unit.

Security Deposit Returns in Utah

Landlords must return a security deposit to the tenant’s last known address no later than 30 days after the tenant vacates the rental unit. If the landlord intends to make deductions, they must include an itemized statement of deductions.

How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Utah?

Utah landlords have 30 days after the tenant vacates the rental unit to return any remaining portion of a security deposit.

Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Utah?

Unlike in some states, such as New Jersey, landlords in Utah do not owe interest on security deposits.

How Do Landlords Give Notice in Utah?

Written notice must be delivered to the tenant’s last known address and must include the amount of the security deposit due, if any, to the tenant, plus an itemized statement of deductions.

If a landlord does not return the security deposit within the 30-day time period, the tenant must send the landlord a Notice to Provide Deposit Disposition before filing a court case.

The notice must be sent to the address provided in the lease agreement by:

  • Certified or registered mail
  • Hand-delivery to the owner or their agent, or by leaving a copy with someone of suitable age and discretion
  • Posting a copy in a conspicuous place if a person of suitable age cannot be found

If the landlord fails to return the security deposit within 5 business days after receiving the notice, the tenant can file for damages in court.

Security Deposit Disputes in Utah

If landlords do not return the security deposit within 5 business days after receiving the tenant’s notice, tenants can file for damages in court up to the full amount of the deposit plus $100.

Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for:

  • Failure to provide written notice when deductions are made from a security deposit
  • Unreasonable deductions

How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Utah?

If a landlord fails to return the security deposit, the tenant can file a dispute in Small Claims Court if the amount of damages is less than $15,000. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file in District Court.

A small claims case must be filed within 4 or 6 years depending on whether the lease agreement was oral or written. An attorney is not required but permitted. Cases are filed in the Small Claims Court for the county where the defendant lives or the property is located. Filing fees are $60 to $185 depending on the claim amount.