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Utah Owner’s Possession Bond – Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-808

Posted by Jeremy Shorts on December 4, 2009

When a possession bond is used properly, evictions are often resolved in days or weeks instead of months or years.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Utah court system realizes that a landlord cannot usually wait months or years to handle a dead-beat tenant.  Most landlords would eventually have a difficult time paying the mortgage on their rental property if they are not able to collect any rents for several months.  One of the tools the Utah courts have provided to Landlords is to file an “Owner’s Possession Bond” (or Possession Bond).  Details of the Utah Possession Bond is found in Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-808.

This information is merely a summary of the law concerning owner’s possession bonds in Utah.  You should ALWAYS consult an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

When do you File a Possession Bond?

Utah law allows for expedited evictions in many circumstances which means the landlord will not have to post a possession bond (i.e. residential evictions for non-payment of rent).  However, the court may require certain types of evictions (i.e. commercial evictions) to post a bond.  Doing so provides benefits to the  landlord by speeding up an already fast process.  Most evictions will not require a possession bond since most cases involved residential properties with past due rent.  If you have any questions on whether your case would benefit from a possession bond, please contact us for a free landlord consultation (contact information is below).

Amount of the Bond

The court does not automatically set a bond for each eviction.  The landlord must file a motion requesting that a bond be set.  Utah law requires that the bond be in an amount sufficient to cover the costs and damages which your tenant would suffer if the eviction was brought or pursued improperly.  The typical bond is usually two months of the regular rent, but the judge has final say when setting the bond.

What Happens to the Bond?

The bond is held by the court clerk until the eviction process is completed.  If the eviction is successful, the bond is returned to the landlord.  If the court finds in favor of the tenant, the landlord would forfeit all or a portion of the bond to the tenant.  This is why it is critical to seek personalized legal advice to ensure that your possession bond is protected.

Benefits of Filing a Possession Bond

When a possession bond is in place, it becomes extremely difficult for the tenant to drag out the lawsuit.  The tenant MUST take one of the following actions within three days:

  • File a counter-possession bond (which the landlord would be entitled to if the eviction is successful), OR
  • Request a hearing before the judge (the hearing is expedited and usually held within three days of the tenant’s request), OR
  • If the eviction is based on non-payment of rents, the tenant must pay all amounts due under the lease agreement (rents, late fees, attorney fees if allowed in the contract, etc.).  The lawsuit should then be dismissed and the tenant is permitted to finish out the lease term stated in the contract.

Of course, there is a fourth option – the tenant can do nothing.  In this situation, the landlord shall be granted an order of restitution (restoring possession to the landlord).  This would restore possession of the property back to the landlord, but the court would still need to resolve the monetary damages which the landlord has suffered.  As a practical matter, tenants very rarely file a counter-bond or pay everything that they owe.  That leaves either (1) requesting a hearing, or (2) they do nothing.

Timing is the most significant advantage of a possession bond.  As I stated above, it can literally resolve an eviction within days or weeks instead of weeks or months or years.

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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