Utah Eviction Notices
Utah eviction notices, an integral part of the State’s eviction process, are forms used by landlords who wish to evict a tenant. An eviction notice is an official warning, notifying the tenant that they are required to vacate the premises. Reasons for evicting a tenant are non-payment of rent, conducting unlawful business on the premises, permitting any nuisance on the premises as defined in Section 78B-6-1107, committing a criminal act, or any other violation or breach of the lease agreement. An eviction notice must include the reason for eviction and shall provide the tenant a certain number of days to vacate the premises. In some cases, the tenant is given the opportunity to remedy the situation by paying rent or compensating for damages. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, they are unlawfully detaining the premises and the landlord can file an eviction suit (forcible detainer).
How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
Before beginning an eviction process, the landlord should be confident that they have reasonable cause for evicting a tenant. Any discrepancy or inaccuracy during the eviction process, particularly in serving and upholding the terms of the eviction notice, could result in the defendant (tenant) winning the case should it go to court.
Step 1 – Select Eviction Notice Type
The landlord must serve the tenant with the proper notice, choosing from the following list of eviction notices:
15-Day Notice to Terminate – Terminating a month-to-month tenancy.
3-Day Notice to Quit– Tenant is involved in illegal activity on the premises and must vacate within three (3) days, no chance to cure.
3-Day Notice to Cure or Quit – Tenant has violated the lease agreement and is given the opportunity to remedy the situation or vacate the premises within three (3) days.
3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit – Tenant has failed to pay rent on time and is given the opportunity to pay or vacate the premises within three (3) days.
Step 2 – Serve Eviction Notice
An eviction notice may be served by the landlord, or any other person, so long as it is delivered via one of the following methods:
- hand-delivered to tenant
- mailed to tenant by registered or certified mail
- hand-delivered to someone at the tenant’s residence who is of suitable age and discretion
- posted in a conspicuous place on the tenant’s property
Step 3 – Notice Period
Tenant is given a predetermined number of days to cure the violation, pay the rent due, or vacate the premises. The landlord must allow the appropriate number of days to pass before filing an eviction lawsuit. If the tenant pays the rent or cures the violation, they have “saved the lease from forfeiture” and an eviction suit cannot be filed. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord can proceed to the next step in the eviction process.
Step 4 – Eviction Suit (Forcible Detainer)
Once the notice period has expired, the tenant is in unlawful detainer and the landlord can seek a Forcible Detainer through their local district court. The landlord must print and fill out a Complaint form and a Summons form, which can be obtained through Utah’s Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) (an account must be created). The Complaint and Summons should then be attached to a copy of the eviction notice, a copy of the rental agreement, and a Notice of URCP 26.3 (which can also be found on the OCAP website). The tenant must be served these forms by an individual at least eighteen (18) years of age who is not party to the case. (URCP 4 and Utah Code § 78B-6-807 govern service regulations.) Once service is complete, the landlord must file a Proof of Completed Service Form with the district court. The tenant has three (3) business days from the date of service to reply to the Summons, which involves sending a copy of their answer to the court and to the landlord.
Step 5 – Default Judgment (If Applicable)
If the tenant fails to respond to the Complaint and Summons within the allotted time frame, a Default Judgment can be filed by the landlord. This demands that the court issue an order of restitution, which will be served on the tenant by a sheriff or constable directing the tenant to vacate the premises within three (3) days. An order for restitution may also be issued should the tenant fail to attend the hearing, even if they answered the Summons.
Step 6 – Court Hearing
A hearing will take place within ten (10) days of the tenant’s response to the Summons. Before a judgment is made, the judge will determine whether the tenant can stay on the premises during the progression of the case. Both parties will be given the opportunity to plead their case and the judge will use this evidence to determine whether the issues can be resolved without going to trial.
Step 7 – Judgment
Regardless of whether the case is decided at the initial hearing or later in trial, a judgment in favor of the landlord means an order of restitution will be issued and any late rent, attorney fees, court costs, and/or damages will be awarded to the landlord. The order of restitution will be served by a sheriff or constable and will allow the tenant three (3) days to vacate the premises. The tenant can contest the order by Request for Hearing, but such a request can only be made if the tenant disagrees with the manner in which the order was enforced, not simply because the tenant disagrees with the mere fact that it was passed. If there is no Request for Hearing, the tenant must comply with the judgment and order, and must remove themselves and all their property from the premises. Failure to comply will result in a forced removal carried out by a sheriff or constable.