Utah Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. All plumbing, electrical, and sanitation facilities must be kept in good repair (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 10 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants can’t withhold rent, but they can repair and deduct, report the issue to a public official or file a lawsuit (read more).
  • Retaliation. If a landlord is reported to a local city or county inspector for housing code violations, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, such as by threatening eviction (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Utah does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNot specifically addressed
RV parksNot specifically addressed
Mobile home parksNot specifically addressed
CondosNot specifically addressed
Hotels/MotelsNot specifically addressed

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Utah, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability IssueLandlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water.Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment.AC not required
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cookingNot addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).Multi-family units
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectorsNot addressed
Provide a mailbox.Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances.Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer.Not addressed

Meth Production

Landlords are required to notify potential tenants if a rental unit is currently contaminated after being used in the production of methamphetamines.

If the property was previously repaired/restored and all contamination removed or mitigated, then the landlord is not required to inform tenants the property was previously used in the production of methamphetamines.

Making Repairs

Landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.

  • Sending notice. If a tenant request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord. The landlord will then have at least three, but not more than ten, days to make any necessary repairs after receiving written notice.
  • Landlord access. Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants 24 hours’ notice unless it’s an emergency or the tenant no longer lives in the rental unit.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Utah landlord tenant law does not permit tenants to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants do have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent provided that the cost of repairs is less than two month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation

Landlord retaliation against a tenant exercising their legal rights is illegal in Utah. The following qualify as retaliatory acts if the landlord:

  • decreases services,
  • raises the rent,
  • harasses or intimidates the tenant,
  • attempts to evict the tenant,
  • refuses to make requested repairs.

Sources