Legal FAQs for Renters in Utah

This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.

This page was last updated on Aug 26th, 2022. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.

Flag of Utah
Emergency Protections during COVID

Emergency Protections during COVID


Are there any special protections for Utah renters during the emergency?

Utah's statewide emergency protections for renters have expired. Landlords may now try to evict tenants once again.

Earlier Protections

Earlier, Utah Governor Gary Herbert ordered a freeze on enforcement of evictions against renters who had lost income or jobs due to COVID-19. You must prove this applies to you. The order went into effect on April 1, 2020 and ended on May 15, 2020. After that date, eviction enforcement and proceedings started again.

U.S. national protections against eviction, the CDC eviction ban, ended on August 26, 2021.

What do the protections mean for Utah renters during COVID-19?

Since emergency protections have expired, for renters in Utah:

  1. Your landlord can give you a notice to quit.
  2. Your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against you.
  3. The court may allow the eviction trial to move forward.
  4. The court can still issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
  5. Law enforcement can enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.

Do I still have to pay rent during the COVID-19 emergency in Utah?

Yes, Utah renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.

Since emergency protections have expired, you may be sued for eviction and will owe all your rent.

Also check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.

If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Apply for rental assistance: If you need financial assistance for housing costs like rent or utility bills, you may be able to get help.
  • Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19 impact. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction. Get help here for drafting and mailing a letter to your landlord. You can also use this letter-writing tool here.
  • Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
  • Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 emergency in Utah?

Utah landlords can sue tenants for eviction since the statewide protections ended.

Earlier in the year, under Governor Herbert's eviction moratorium order, landlords could not evict renters who had not paid full rent because of COVID-19 reasons, for rent that was due between April 1 and May 15, 2020. During this period, landlords could still ask for rent, but they could not have a renter removed from their homes. After May 15, 2020, courts began to allow eviction proceedings against renters impacted by COVID-19 to begin once again.

If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.

Can my utilities be shut off during the emergency?

Utah renters' utilities may be shut off during the emergency period.

There is no statewide order to stop utility companies from shutting off residents' utilities if they do not pay their bills.

Check with your local government and utility provider to see if you have any local protections from shutoffs.

Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.

Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.

What if I need repairs?

Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.

The emergency may delay your landlord's ability to make repairs, but if they are urgent you should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.

Emergency repairs could be for problems with:

  • Running water or hot water
  • Heat
  • Stove, refrigerator, or oven
  • Electricity
  • Bathroom use
  • Missing doors, locks, or windows
  • Pests

If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication).

Reach out for legal help for additional guidance.

Can I break my lease?

You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.

Your lease is still valid despite the emergency period.

However, you can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease (in some cases penalty-free).

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me?

Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.

It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.

If you are served with court papers (8-20 pages long), you only have 3 business days after the date of being served to file an Answer with the court. A court-approved Answer form and instructions from Utah Legal Services on how to fill it out can be found here. If you receive an eviction notice (1-3 pages long), you do not have to file anything.

Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.

Find legal help to protect your rights.

Are eviction cases still proceeding through Utah courts?

Yes, eviction cases are still proceeding through Utah courts, though they may be held remotely rather than in person.

Check with the Utah State Courts to find updates on court proceedings.

Did I have eviction protections under the CARES Act?

Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.

Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?

Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.
You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.
You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.

If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)

  • Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
  • Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
  • After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.

For more help on these national protections, reach out for legal and financial help here. Also, use this tool to write a letter to your landlord if you are having issues with rent or eviction.

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?


My landlord gave me a notice to "pay or quit" my rental home in Utah. What should I do?

You do not have to leave your home yet.

In Utah, your landlord must give you a valid notice that they may bring you to court to evict you for not paying your rent (or other reasons). The notice should give you time to either pay your rent or prepare defenses against an eviction lawsuit.

This official notice must follow some rules to be valid. If it doesn't follow these rules, then you can challenge an eviction lawsuit based on that notice and stop the eviction.

These are Utah’s requirements for an eviction notice:

  1. The notice must be written down on a piece of paper (not a text message). It does NOT need to be a formal-looking legal document prepared by a lawyer; it may be handwritten if the landlord so chooses.
  2. It must explain why you may be evicted -- whether it is for non-payment of rent, a lease violation, or other reason. If you are at the end of your lease or are a month-to-month tenant, the landlord does NOT have to have a reason for evicting you.
  3. The landlord may present this notice in person to you, mail it to you via registered or certified mail, or leave the notice with a person of suitable age at the residence. If no one is present at the rental unit, then the landlord may post the notice in a conspicuous place on the property (for example, taping it to your door).
  4. The notice does NOT need to be delivered by a constable or sheriff, nor include a judge’s signature.

Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't correct, or if you need assistance in defending yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

What if the landlord has just told me, face-to-face or over the phone, that I need to leave my home in Utah?

A verbal conversation doesn't count as an "eviction notice". To be legal, the notice must be written down and given to you in the correct way.

Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

Do I have to leave my home by the time of the eviction notice's expiration date in Utah?

No, you do not have to leave before the end of the time on your eviction notice, and the landlord is not allowed to lock you out without an order signed by a judge. However, at the end of the time in the eviction notice, you are then vulnerable to an eviction lawsuit.

If you want to buy the maximum amount of time before being physically thrown out, you must take certain steps (as detailed below) in order to avoid being “defaulted” in that lawsuit (if you are defaulted, the judge will be able to sign an eviction order and have you thrown out in 3 days or less after the eviction notice expired). As long as you avoid being defaulted, you will have an opportunity to go to court and present defenses to allow you to remain in your home.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

My eviction notice says that I will be evicted unless I pay back-rent I owe in Utah. What if I can't afford to pay it?

You still have time to reach out for rental assistance, and stop the eviction from moving forward.

Be sure to let the local group know that you have received an eviction notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, or work with your landlord to reduce the amount or put you on a payment plan.

Find local financial help in Utah here.

How long do I have after I receive an eviction notice to pay back the rent to stop the eviction in Utah?

In Utah, you have a minimum of 3 business days between your landlord giving you a notice and them filing a lawsuit against you in court to evict you. Day-of-service doesn’t count towards the three-day clock. At the end of those three days, the landlord is legally allowed to refuse the rent and still evict you, although the landlord may voluntarily choose to accept your rent.

The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you. If they are giving you less than three days, or the notice gives you three days but they file an eviction lawsuit before the end of those three days, then you may be able to have a lawsuit dismissed if the lawsuit is based on that notice.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?


My landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court in Utah. What should I do?

You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit. If they didn't give it to you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit. In Utah, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:

  1. The landlord must file the Summons and Complaint in the District Court that has jurisdiction over the property.
  2. Once filed, it will be served by the sheriff, constable, or any third-party adult.
  3. The documents may be given to the tenant in person, left with a person who reasonably appears to be 14 years old or older, or mailed to the tenant as long as the return receipt is requested.

You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

Do I have to do anything after I get an eviction Summons and Complaint in Utah?

In Utah, you are required to respond to the eviction lawsuit, if you want to avoid the eviction.

You will have 3 business days after you receive the Summons and Complaint to get an “Answer” back to the court. You can find a court-approved form Answer with instructions on how to fill it out here. If you do not submit this response by the third day, you may lose your case by default and the judge may give the landlord permission to remove you from your home.

Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

Can I settle my eviction case without going to court in Utah?

You can come to an agreement, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed.

You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.

Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it.

Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen.

You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed.

Find local legal help in Utah here.

Behind on Rent?

Behind on Rent?


Who can help me with rent that I owe?

If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.

Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.

Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.

Am I eligible for rent relief?

Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships.

You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.

You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.

You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.

Does immigration status matter for rent relief?

Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.

Can a landlord apply for their renter, to get rental assistance?

Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply.

Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.

The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.

Get Help From Local Groups

State information is taken from these sources:Utah Governor eviction orderUtah Legal ServicesPrinceton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect TrackerUtah Supreme Court order 5/1/20

Don’t see your question here?

Ask it using this form, and we may add it to our FAQ list.

Did this page help?

Copyright © 2022 The Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford University). All Rights Reserved.