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EVICTIONS

Posted by: In: Newsletter Archive 03 Aug 2015 Comments: 0

BY: PHILLIP E. MILLER

(Please understand that the answers to these questions are general in nature and may not cover every individual situation.)

       There are several statutory reasons that a landlord can try to evict a tenant.  However, breach of a well drafted contract is the most direct route. Often times, the contract is the first place an attorney will look to see if the tenants’ actions are actionable.  The contract governs the relationship between the two parties.  If terms are vague or ambiguous it makes interpretation and therefore enforcement of the contract much more difficult.  If you are thinking of renting property it is usually worth the legal fees to have a contract drafted by an attorney as opposed to a “fill in the blank” contract.

Once an issue arises between a tenant and landlord and the tenant is either in violation of a statute or provision in the contract, there are a couple of things a landlord may do.  First, the landlord can have an attorney draft a letter to the tenant requesting that they come into compliance.  This is often very successful. Second, if the relationship between the parties has completely broken down, it may be time to give the tenant the proper notice.  Notice is required by statute.  There are several different notices that can be given depending on the reason for the notice.  There are 3-day notices, 5-day notices, and 15-day notices.

Once the notice is served and the tenant is not responsive, the landlord can begin the eviction action.  Under Utah statute the parties are entitled to a possession hearing within 10 days.  Tenants should not ignore notices because this part of the eviction process happens very quickly compared to other parts of the process.  The Court may hear the other issues of the eviction at that hearing as well if they choose or they may set a trial date within the next 60 days.

Landlords can usually avoid the eviction process if they investigate their tenants sufficiently beforehand, and by giving them a simple, easy to read, and understanding contract that lays out the responsibilities of the parties up front.  It is much simpler, and cost effective to not have to evict a tenant in the first place.

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