Eviction Information for Tenants

This page includes information about the residential eviction process only. The page does not address commercial evictions.

 

Introduction

This page explains how to respond to an eviction case. It is for tenants. If you are a landlord needing to evict someone, see our page on Eviction information for landlords.

Pay attention to eviction papers you receive. If you ignore your papers you could be evicted.

What you can do will depend on what you receive. Click to find out what you can do if:

You can also see a road map of the eviction process for an overall picture of the process and timelines.

Do you need help paying your rent?

You might be able to get help paying your rent.

Do you need help paying your rent?

You might be able to get help paying your rent. This is sometimes called "rental assistance." Visit UT Rent Relief to ask for with rent, utilities and more.

Even if you do not apply for rental assistance, your landlord could apply for rental assistance for you. Stay in touch with your landlord. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has tips on how to talk to your landlord about rent that is owed.

Are you in government housing or is you rent paid for by the government?

Are you in government housing or is you rent paid for by the government?

Tenants in government housing have more rights. This includes public housing, section 8, and other government programs. Contact Utah Legal Services for help.

Do you own a mobile home in a mobile home park?

You might have extra legal protections.

Do you own a mobile home in a mobile home park?

You might have extra legal protections. These protections apply if:

  • You live in a mobile home
  • You own your mobile home, and
  • Your mobile home is in a mobile home park- and you rent a lot

If you meet all of the above, your eviction case could proceed differently. You can read more in Utah Code Title 57, Chapter 16, Mobile Home Park Residency Act.

If you do not own the mobile home, the procedures on this page apply.

It's against the law for a landlord to evict tenant without a court order

If you are a tenant, your landlord must get a court order to evict you. Without a court order, your landlord cannot:

It's against the law for a landlord to evict tenant without a court order

If you are a tenant, your landlord must get a court order to evict you. Without a court order, your landlord cannot:

  • Change your locks
  • Shut off your utilities
  • Take your belongings
  • Harass you or
  • Block you from entering your unit

Are you a tenant? You are if you:

  • Have a written lease
  • Have the landlord's oral permission to live in your unit
  • Have given the landlord something valuable (money, labor, help with the bills) in exchange for letting you live there

Utah Code 78B-6-814

Were you locked out illegally? Utah Legal Services has help on what you can do next.

If you are not a tenant you could be considered a long-term guest. A long-term guest doesn't meet the requirements for being a tenant. A long-term guest can be removed with police help. See our page on criminal trespass law for more information.

If you receive a notice to vacate

Serving you with a notice to vacate (sometimes called a notice to quit) is the first step your landlord can take in the eviction process. An eviction notice tells you that you must either move out or you will be sued for eviction. The notice might give you the chance to fix the problem (such as paying rent or following the rules in your lease) instead of moving out.

Your notice will have a deadline to comply. The day you receive the notice is considered day zero. So if you receive a 3 day notice to vacate on Monday, you have until the end of the day on Thursday to move out.

You have a few options when you receive the notice. Generally, you can:

  • Fix the problem in the notice
    • If the notice is for nonpayment of rent, you have 3 business days to pay the money you owe. Contact 2-1-1 to find out about rental assistance options available in your county
    • If the notice is for a lease violation, fix the problem and tell the landlord in writing what you have done
  • Try to work something out with your landlord
    • One option is to ask your landlord to attend mediation. This would involve you, your landlord and another person, a mediator who is not on your side or your landlord's side. The mediator's job is to try to help you and your landlord come to an agreement
  • Move out
  • Stay in your residence and try to challenge the lawsuit - but see the consequences section below for details about what could happen next

Consequences for not complying with the notice

If you don't resolve the issue or move out before the notice expires, the landlord can file eviction papers in court and have you served. If

Consequences for not complying with the notice

If you don't resolve the issue or move out before the notice expires, the landlord can file eviction papers in court and have you served. If the landlord wins the case you could be responsible for:

  • Any unpaid rent
  • Three times the daily value of your residence for each day you remain after the notice expires
    • For example, if your rent is $750 each month, you would divide that by 30 to get your daily rental amount of $25. If you stay in your residence for 21 days after your notice expires, you would multiply $25 times 21. This equals $525, but this amount is then multiplied by 3, so you will owe $1,575
  • Three times the amount of money you owe under the lease (including late fees)
  • Three times the amount it costs to repair any damage you caused to the residence if your notice is for waste (causing physical harm to the residence or neglecting to maintain the residence)
  • Three times the amount it costs to undo any nuisance you caused if your notice is for nuisance
  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs

The filing of an eviction lawsuit is also a permanent public record. The fact that you were sued for eviction can make it harder to find another place to rent. If a landlord wins a judgment against you that can also hurt your credit, which can also make it harder to find another place to rent. Utah Legal Services has more information on what can happen to you in an eviction case.

Utah Code 78B-6-811

Requirements for a notice to vacate

Your landlord must strictly follow the requirements when giving you a notice. Look at the table to see how much time your notice must give you to

Requirements for a notice to vacate

Your landlord must strictly follow the requirements when giving you a notice. Look at the table to see how much time your notice must give you to comply:

If your notice is for... Then your notice must...
Nonpayment of rent Give you 3 business days to pay or move
A Criminal Act, Engaging in an Unlawful Business, Nuisance, Subletting, Violating Your Lease, or Waste Give you 3 calendar days to comply 
Ending a month-to-month or other periodic tenancy

Give you 15 calendar days to comply

Be served on you at least 15 calendar days before the end of the rental period, otherwise you can stay until the end of the next rental period

A tenant at will (you don't have a lease with the property owner) Give you 5 calendar days to comply

 

 

How the notice is served

The notice to vacate can be served by any person, including the landlord:

  • by delivering it to the tenant personally
  • by mailing it registered or certified mail, or an equivalent means, to the tenant at the tenant's residence
  • if the tenant is absent from the residence, by leaving it with a person of suitable age and discretion and also mailing it to the tenant at the tenant's residence, or
  • if a person of suitable age or discretion cannot be found at the tenant's residence, by affixing it in a conspicuous place on the premises (usually on the door to the residence)

Some people have the right to more time (a longer notice)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) requires some tenants to be given a 30 day notice before they can be required to leave their units. You are entitled to a 30 day notice if:

  • Your landlords has a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and
  • You are facing eviction for nonpayment of rent

If your landlord has a mortgage that is in forbearance, there are more protections. Your landlord cannot:

  • Evict you for unpaid rent or late fees or
  • Charge late fees or penalties for back rent

Landlords in forbearance are required to give you written notice of these rights and of the fact that the property is in forbearance.

You can use these lookup tools to see if your unit is covered under these the FHFA rule:

Extra time for tenants in a foreclosed property

If you are a tenant living in a property that was foreclosed upon you may be entitled to a 90 day notice before you can be evicted. The 90 day notice is required if the mortgage was federally related and you are a “bona fide” tenant. A bona fide tenant:

  • is not the foreclosed homeowner or the spouse, child, or parent of the foreclosed homeowner
  • negotiated their lease with the previous homeowner as if they were strangers, without giving or receiving any special favors, and
  • is required to pay rent that is not substantially less than fair market rent for the property or the unit's rent is reduced or subsidized due to a Federal, State, or local subsidy

These protections come from the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA). More information on the PTFA is available from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

12 USC 5220, note.

If you receive a Summons and Complaint

If you do not take care of the issues in your notice to vacate the landlord can file eviction documents in court and have you served with two important documents:

  • A Summons: this tells you your rights. Once you receive the Summons you have only 3 business days to respond.
  • A Complaint: this will explain why the landlord is evicting you. The Complaint should also have attachments:
    • A copy of your lease
    • A copy of the notice to vacate

The day you receive the Summons and Complaint is day zero. So if you receive the Summons and Complaint on a Monday, you would have until the court closes on Thursday to respond.

If you disagree with what the Complaint says, or parts of what it says, you can protect your rights by filing an Answer. The Answer lets the court know that you disagree with the Complaint and you want to be heard in court. Here are your options for filing an answer:

You can file your answer via email if you are worried about getting your response in on time. When you file your Answer, send a copy to the landlord or their attorney. See our explanation of Service of Other Papers for more information.

If you do not file an Answer the landlord can get a default judgment against you. This means:

  • You lose the cause automatically for not filing a response to the Complaint in time
  • You can be evicted quickly
  • Your landlord is entitled to any money they asked for in the Complaint

Counterclaim

In addition to filing an Answer you can also file a counterclaim. This means you are suing the landlord based on the issues you raise in your counterclaim. The landlord has 21 days to respond to your counterclaim. If they do not respond you can ask the court for a default judgment. For more information, see our page on Default Judgments.

URCP 12.

Who is the plaintiff?

The Complaint must name the property owner as plaintiff. However, this can include the owner's designated agent (this could be a designated property manager). If the complaint is not filed in the name of the owner or their agent you can raise this issue in your Answer.

Utah Code 78B-6-801(5) and URCP 17

What happens after you file your answer

What happens after you file your answer

After you file your Answer there will be a hearing. What kind of hearing will depend on the issues in your case.

Occupancy hearing

After you file the Answer you or your landlord can request an occupancy hearing. Once it is requested the court will hold a hearing within 10 days.

The landlord must serve the following documents on the you at least 2 days before the hearing by the method most likely to be promptly received:

  • Any document not already disclosed that will be presented at the hearing
  • The name and contact information for each witness that will be called at the hearing
  • A summary of the expected testimony of any witness that will be called

You must serve the following documents on your landlord at least 2 days before the hearing by the method most likely to be promptly received:

  • Any document not already disclosed that will be presented at the hearing
  • The name and contact information for each witness that will be called at the hearing
  • A summary of the expected testimony of any witness that will be called

At the hearing the judge will decide who has the right to occupy the residence while the case moves forward. If you do not attend the hearing, the judge will issue an Order of Restitution for the premises and you can be evicted immediately. The Order of Restitution directs the sheriff or constable to evict the tenant and return possession to the landlord.

If the judge finds that all of the issues can be decided without more hearings, the judge will decide those issues and enter judgment on the merits. If the judge decides there is a need for more information and hearings and the tenant remains in possession of the premises, the judge will begin the trial within 60 days after the day on which the Complaint was served unless the parties agree otherwise.

Utah Code 78B-6-810

If the court does not automatically schedule a trial you or the landlord can file papers to ask the court for a trial. See our page on Getting Ready for Trial - Civil Cases for more information.

Hearing for criminal nuisance

If the case is for criminal nuisance the court will hold an evidentiary hearing, which is similar to an occupancy hearing. The hearing will be within 10 days of the day the Complaint is filed. Notice of the hearing must be served on the tenant with the Summons at least 3 calendar days before the hearing.

Utah Code 78B-6-810(3)

If you receive notice of a possession bond

If you receive notice of a possession bond

You could receive notice the landlord has filed a possession bond. They must have this served on you in the same manner as the Summons. See our webpage on service for more details. The notice must inform you of all of the remedies and procedures available to you under Utah Code Section 78B-6-808(4).

The possession bond lets the landlord evict you and take possession of the residence while the eviction case moves forward. The landlord is required to deposit money or a promise to pay with the court to cover your damages if, in the end, you win.

The judge must approve the amount of the bond. The amount must be enough to pay your probable costs and damages if the court awards judgment for you and against the landlord. The bond may be a corporate or cash bond or certified funds. The court will hold the money in trust until the case is finished. The bond may be a property bond executed by two persons who own real property in the state and who are not parties to the action. A property bond must meet the requirements of URCP 72.

Once the possession bond is filed and served, you have the following options:

  • Within 3 business days after being served with notice of the bond, you can demand a hearing, which must be held within 3 business days
  • If the eviction is based solely upon failure to pay rent or other money due, the rental agreement will remain in force and the Complaint will be dismissed if the you pay all accrued rent accrued rent, all other money due, and other costs, including attorney fees, as provided in the rental agreement. You must do this within 3 calendar days after service of the notice of the possession bond
  • For any eviction, you can remain in possession of the residence by filing a counter bond. The counter bond must meet the same requirements as the original possession bond. Any prepaid rent is a portion of your counter bond.
  • You must file the counter bond within 3 business days after service of notice of the landlord's possession bond or within 24 hours after the court sets the amount of the counter bond, whichever is later, unless the court allows additional time.

If you do not comply with any of the remedies and procedures, the court will enter an Order of Restitution. This tells the sheriff or constable to evict you and return possession of the residence to the landlord.

Hearing

If the court rules after the hearing that the landlord is entitled to possession of the residence, the court will enter an Order of Restitution. If the court allows you to remain in possession and if further issues must be decided, the court will require you to post a counter bond. The court will expedite the remaining proceedings. If the court rules that all issues between the parties can be decided without further proceedings, the court will decide who wins.

Utah Code 78B-6-808

If you receive an Order of Restitution

An Order of Restitution is the order from the court to a sheriff or constable ordering you to be evicted. The order will tell you:

  • You must vacate the residence, remove your personal property, and restore possession of the residence to the landlord, or be forcibly removed by a sheriff or constable;
  • When you must vacate - usually 3 calendar days following service of the order, but it might be less; and
  • About the right to a hearing to contest how the order is enforced.

The Order of Restitution must be served along with a Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution form (available in the forms section below). The Request for Hearing form lets you request a hearing if you think your rights were violated. This form does not stop the eviction and is not an appeal. Both forms must be served by a sheriff, constable or private investigator. They must serve the documents by:

  • By delivering it to you personally
  • By mailing it registered or certified mail, or an equivalent means, to you at your residence
  • If you are absent from the residence, by leaving it with a person of suitable age and discretion and also mailing it to your residence, or
  • If a person of suitable age or discretion cannot be found at the residence, by affixing it in a conspicuous place at the residence

There are not many options when you receive the Order of Restitution. Here are some possible next steps:

  • Move out - if you can't take all of your belongings with you, plan to at least take:
    • Important documents, like identification, social security cards, and birth certificates
    • Things you need for your health, like medicine, medical supplies, glasses, and important medical records
    • Cherished objects, like treasured photos, momentos, and other things that have a strong sentimental value
  • Try to work something out with your landlord - your landlord is not required to talk to you or to let you stay, but you can try talking to them and offering them something to give you more time

What can I do to stop the eviction?

Filing the Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution does not stop the eviction. If you want to ask the court to stop the eviction you can try filing one or both of these:

  • Motion to Set Aside Judgment. This asks the court to undo the eviction order. The court must wait 14 days before it can rule on the motion unless you ask the court to delay enforcement of the order.
  • Motion to Delay Enforcement of Judgment. This asks the court to delay the eviction order. The eviction could still move forward unless you ask the court to set aside the eviction order. But the court cannot grant the motion to delay unless you post a bond for a large enough amount to pay the landlord's probable costs, attorney fees, and damages (including unpaid rent) if the court decides in favor of the landlord. Any prepaid rent is a portion of the tenant's bond.

If you don't know where you will be able to stay, contact Utah 2-1-1 for help in your county.

Utah Code 78B-6-812(2)(b) and 78B-6-808(4)(b) and URCP 60 and 62.

 

Your rights after you are evicted

If you do not move out as required in the Order of Restitution, a sheriff or constable may enter the residence by force to remove you. After that, you are not allowed to reenter the residence.

However, the landlord must give you reasonable access within 5 business days to retrieve:

  • Clothing
  • Identification
  • Financial documents, including all those related to the tenant's immigration status or employment status
  • Documents about the receipt of public services, and
  • Medical information, prescription medications, and any medical equipment required for maintenance of medical needs

You have the right to retrieve these items without paying any storage costs.

Other items that you leave behind can be removed by the sheriff or constable or can stay in the residence. The landlord is allowed to charge you a reasonable moving or storage cost for these items. If you want your belongings back you must:

  1. Contact the landlord to find out what the storage or moving costs are
  2. Write the landlord to request your belongings
  3. Pay the costs for moving and storing you belongings

If you do not pay the moving and storage costs and recover your personal property within 15 calendar days, the property is considered abandoned. The landlord can then sell or donate these items. For more information, see our page on Tenant's Personal Property.

Tell the court how to contact you

The eviction by the sheriff is not necessarily the end of your court case. The landlord can still file a request for a judgment against you. You have the right to receive notice of the judgment and to challenge the judgment if you want. The landlord only has to send notice of the request for judgment to your last known address. You can let the court know what your new address is (including an email address) so that you can receive notice of what else is filed in your case. See our page on Notifying the Court of Address, Contact Information or Name Changes for more information.

 

If your rights are violated you can request a hearing

You can request a hearing if you disagree with how the Order of Restitution is enforced. The landlord must have you served with a blank Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution form along with the Order of Restitution. You can also find the Request for Hearing in the forms section below. The Request for Hearing does not stop the eviction.

Possible reasons to request a hearing include:

  • You were not properly served with a copy of the Order of Restitution
  • You were not given the time ordered by the court to move out
  • Your property is not being stored in a suitable place or in a suitable manner, or both
  • There are problems with getting personal belongings returned
    • The removal and storage costs the landlord is charging are unreasonable
    • You were not provided with a copy of the inventory of the property removed
    • You demanded return of their property within 15 days of the date it was removed and paid all costs associated with its removal and storage, but the property was not returned
    • Someone other than you delivered a written demand for the release of their property to the constable or sheriff, and provided proper identification and evidence of ownership, but the property was not returned
  • There are problems with the sale of the property
    • A written notice of the time and place of sale of your property was not mailed to you
    • You attended the sale of their property, but the remainder of the property was not released to you after you paid for costs of removal, storage, advertising, and conducting the sale
    • After your property was sold there was money left over after the costs for removal, storage, advertising and conducting the sale, and paying landlords judgment, but that money was not returned to you

The court will set the hearing within 10 calendar days from the day you file the Request for Hearing or as soon as possible after that.

Utah Code 78B-6-812

If you receive an Affidavit of Damages or other paperwork requesting a judgment

A landlord can request a judgment against you that orders you to pay them money. They can request a judgment when you:

  • Lose the case because you did not file an Answer
  • Fail to appear at the occupancy hearing, if the court strikes your Answer and enters a default
  • Lose at trial.

If you lost your case because you did not file an Answer or you failed to appear at the occupancy hearing, see our page on Motion to Set Aside Default or Judgment for more information.

The landlord must send you the papers requesting judgment. They can send these through the regular mail or even email. The papers will be sent to the address you have been evicted from if you have not provided a new address.

Once you receive the request for judgment you have 7 calendar days to let the court know if you oppose the request. If you disagree with the landlord's calculations or other claims for damages you can challenge the request by filing an Objection to Form of Judgment, available in the forms section below. You would need to file your objection and serve it on the landlord under URCP 5. See our explanation of Service of Other Papers for more information.

Once you file and serve your Objection to Form of Judgment the court could either make a decision based on the papers that have been filed or it could schedule a hearing. At the hearing you can explain to the court why you think the landlord's request for judgment is wrong.

URCP 54 or URCP 58A

What can be included in the judgment

The judgment will end the rental agreement, but you will still owe the rent for the remainder of the agreement. However, this amount is limited by the landlord's duty to reduce damages - this means the landlord must try to rent the residence to someone else as soon as reasonably possible. The judgment can also be also be for three times the actual damages for:

  • The daily rental value of the residence for each day the tenant stayed in the rental after the notice expired;
  • Forcible entry;
  • Repair of waste of the premises; and
  • The amounts due under the contract if the eviction is for nonpayment of rent or other amounts due under the contract;
  • The abatement of the nuisance by eviction.

The landlord must prove all of these damages, and the amount of rent owed.

Utah Code 78B-6-811

Forms

  • 2100EV
  • Use OCAP to
    • prepare an Answer to the Complaint
    • prepare a response to a possession bond
  • Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution - PDF | Word
  • 1113GE
  • Judgment for Defendant for Unlawful Detainer - PDF | Word

Utah Legal Services eviction forms

  • Basic guide to Answering an eviction Complaint - PDF
  • Request for Return of Personal Property - PDF

Resources