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Utah Eviction Process – The ABCs

Posted by Jeremy Shorts on December 3, 2009

If a problem tenant has to be evicted in Utah, what rights does the landlord have and what process must be followed?  Generally, there are three steps to properly evict a dead-beat tenant.  If these are not followed strictly or properly, a judge may refuse your eviction and dismiss your case.  It is important to consult an attorney to ensure that you are complying with the law.

A – End The Lease

Ending the lease by providing proper notice to a tenant is the first step in beginning the eviction process.  By law, every tenant must be allowed a notice period and opportunity to vacate the property before eviction proceedings can continue.  The details and types of eviction notices is a topic for another day, and many free Utah eviction forms are available on my website (www.utahevictionlaw.com).  However, failing to provide proper notice to a tenant can easily result in a judge dismissing your entire eviction.

B – Wait… (Tenant’s Opportunity to Vacate)

Each eviction notice provides a time period for the tenant to take action, the time limits vary depending on the type of notice.  Visit my website for several Free Utah Eviction Forms (www.utahevictionlaw.com).  For example, if the tenant has not paid rents and is served with a Three Day Pay or Quit Notice, the eviction process cannot continue until the landlord has waited until the fourth day.  This gives  the tenant an opportunity to either (1) pay delinquent rents, or (2) vacate the property.  If the tenant pays past rents or leaves, there is no basis to continue with the eviction process (although the landlord would still have a monetary claim against the tenant for any unpaid rents).  However, if the tenant has not taken any action within the time allowed in the eviction notice, the landlord can proceed with the eviction.

C – File The Lawsuit

The legal term for an eviction lawsuit is “Unlawful Detainer” and is more fully described in Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-802.  Once the proper notice has been served on the tenant and they have failed to comply with the notice within the time allowed, the landlord has fulfilled all the necessary requirements to file for an eviction.  Yes, to evict a tenant you literally file a lawsuit against them.  Unlawful detailer lawsuits must be filed in Utah’s district court (no small claims).  An eviction lawsuit usually has two main purposes: (1) to re-gain physical possession of the property, and (2) to obtain a judgment for any amounts owed under the contract.  An eviction lawsuit must be done properly or you may have to start the entire process over.  You will have to provide another eviction notice and wait again before any action can be taken.


Lawsuits in Utah’s District Court often take months or years before a judge renders a decision.  The Utah court system realizes that landlords cannot wait this long when they have a non-paying tenant.  Utah law provides landlords several significant opportunities to speed up the eviction process and have a judge review the case (typically within days or weeks as opposed to months or years).  Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This is certainly true when dealing with evictions and other legal issues.  Unless you are familiar with the eviction laws and court procedures, it is important to have an attorney assist you in this process.  Doing so will often speed up the process and help to quickly navigate the legal system.

Contact me if you need help dealing with a problem tenant.

Visit my website for free rental contracts and eviction forms: www.utahevictionlaw.com
Contact me for a free consultation.
Jeremy Shorts – Attorney at Law
Phone: 801-610-9879
Email: jeremy@utahevictionlaw.com

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