As a landlord, it can be frustrating when a tenant fails to vacate a rental property when their lease term ends. In Utah, landlords have specific legal procedures they must follow to regain possession of the property. Here are the typical steps that a landlord might have to take if the tenant does not vacate when the lease expires: (please note - this not considered legal advice and it is always recommended that you contact an eviction law expert for help with your specific situation)
Step 1: Provide a Written Notice to Vacate
The first step in regaining possession of your rental property is to provide your tenant with a notice to vacate. Under Utah law, landlords must provide tenants with a written notice to vacate at least 30 days before the lease term end date.
The notice to vacate typically includes the following information:
- The names of the tenants
- The address of the rental property
- The date that the tenants must vacate the premises
- The date the notice was served
- The signature of the owner or property manager
- Indication how the notice was served (hand delivered or posted on the front door)
- The signature of the server
The notice to vacate can be served to the tenant in person or by affixing a copy in a conspicuous place on the property. It is important to keep a copy of the notice for your records.
Step 2: File an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit
If the tenant does not vacate the rental property on or before the lease expiration date, the next step is to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. An unlawful detainer lawsuit is a legal action taken by a landlord to regain possession of a rental property.
To file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in Utah, landlords must file a complaint with the court in the county where the rental property is located. The complaint will typically include the following information:
- The reason for the eviction
- A copy of the notice to vacate
- Proof that the notice to vacate was served to the tenant
- The amount of rent owed (if any)
Once the complaint has been filed, the court will issue a summons to the tenant. The tenant will then have a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint.
Step 3: Attend the Eviction Hearing
After the tenant has been served with the summons, a hearing will be scheduled. This hearing is the landlord's opportunity to present evidence to the court and argue their case for eviction.
It is important to be prepared for the eviction hearing by gathering any relevant documents or evidence, such as the lease agreement, rent payment history, and photos of the rental property. Landlords should also be prepared to explain why they are seeking eviction and how they have attempted to resolve the issue with the tenant.
At the eviction hearing, the judge will consider the evidence presented and make a decision on whether or not to grant the eviction. If the judge grants the eviction, they will issue a writ of restitution, which gives the landlord legal authority to regain possession of the rental property.
Step 4: Regain Possession of the Rental Property
Once the eviction has been granted and the writ of restitution has been issued, landlords can work with a constable or sheriff's deputy to regain possession of the rental property. The constable or sheriff's deputy will serve the writ of restitution to the tenant and provide them with a specific deadline to vacate the property.
If the tenant does not vacate the property by the deadline provided, the constable or sheriff's deputy can physically remove them and any personal property from the rental property. The locks would also be changed at this time.
At this point, a landlord can conduct a move-out inspection and issue the deposit disposition within 30 days from the date the tenant vacated.
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