What do I do with property left behind by the tenant?

If you have ever had a tenant abandoned the premises leaving a lot of property behind, you know how stressful it is to deal with a unit that is still full of someone else’s stuff. Fortunately, the problem is common enough that the Utah Legislature has outlined the process for  landlord to deal with abandoned property clearly enough that it easy to follow and stay within the boundaries of the law.

The first thing you need to do is post a Notice of Intent to Dispose of Abandoned Property. Additionally, you must mail a copy of the Notice via US First Class Mail, not certified, to the former tenant’s last known address. In almost every case, the last known address is the same as the leased property address. This notice will give the tenant fifteen days to make arrangements to recover the abandoned property. If you need a copy of this form or any Utah eviction form, you can download them for free by clicking the link to our free Utah eviction forms.

You are not required to store this property in the unit. In fact, you are allowed to hire a moving and storage company to come in, take inventory, box everything up and store it at a different location. When the tenant reaches out to you within the fifteen-day period you can require that he or she first pay all moving and storage fees before releasing the property to the tenant.

The landlord is not required to store dangerous chemicals or live animals. Additionally, if only garbage is left behind, this can be tossed out without waiting the fifteen days. The law used to require the landlord to give the tenant thirty days to recover his or her property. When the requirement was reduced to fifteen days, the law changed to require a landlord to give an extension of fifteen days if the tenant requests. That means, you might end up having to store the property for thirty days.

If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the owner may sell, at public auction, the property left behind to the extent necessary to be reimbursed for all amounts owed under the rental agreement. However, any unsold property must be returned to the tenant at the tenant’s request. Additionally, once enough has been recovered to cover all amounts due under contract, the remaining property must be released to the tenant.

Rarely is a public sale required. Most of the time, tenants do not leave behind property that is valuable enough to be worth selling at public auction. In these cases, the landlord is allowed to dispose of the property in a commercially reasonable manner. If the property has no real fair market value, then that usually means donating the property or throwing it away.

If you would like further clarification on any issues addressed herein, do not hesitate to give one of our Utah Eviction Lawyers a call.

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Utah Eviction Law

Utah Eviction Law highly favors the landlord over the defaulting tenant. In most cases, even if your tenant files an Answer to your complaint for eviction you will be able to regain possession of the residence within three to four weeks. Although many landlords are disappointed by this amount of time, compared to some other states, the process here is very fast. A good Utah eviction lawyer, who understands Utah eviction law can make an ordinarily stressful experience seemingly painless.

The Utah Code contains nearly all of the laws in Utah. Chapter 6 of Title 78B provides most of the laws and procedures relating to an eviction. This chapter is entitled Particular Proceedings because eviction procedures do not follow the same course as standard proceedings before the court. Perhaps the biggest difference is that any contested eviction is automaticalyl bifercated. Bifurcated means that some issues are separated from others and dealt with sooner. Utah evictions are bifurcated into an occupancy proceeding and then a subsequent proceeding on damages.

After a tenant files an answer, Utah eviction law allows the landlord to immediately request a hearing. This hearing is called an immediate occupancy hearing and, in most cases, is scheduled within ten days of the tenant’s answer. For some this may seem like a long time, however, this does not compare to the typical 60-90 days it takes to get a hearing on other matters in Utah. Most judges will not address the issue of damages at this hearing. The immediate occupancy hearing is intended to be a quick hearing and the only issue addressed is who will be allowed to possess the property. Usually there are several other cases scheduled at the same time. On the other hand, a hearing on damages will last anywhere from an hour to half a day or more.

If you are studying Utah eviction law in anticipation of evicting a tenant. Give us a call first. You may be surprised to find out it is much cheaper to hire an eviction lawyer rather than go it alone. Unless you have experience evicting tenants, attempting to do so alone can cause delays of a month or more costing you another month’s rent. Our Utah eviction lawyers charge a fraction of a month’s rent for most UtahnsUtah Eviction Law.

 

What is the good landlord program in Utah?

There are many individuals who own one or maybe just a handful of residential units for rent. Generally, these individuals have a separate full time job and life away from being a landlord. In fact, the idea is to find a good tenant and not worry about anything other than cashing a rent check each month and paying the mortgage. These individuals represent a significant part of the housing economy here in Utah. However, some problems arose where these part, part-time landlords did not know what to do when a problem arises. For example, can a landlord change the locks to a unit with a non-paying tenant? What obligations does a landlord have to make sure the home is free from dangerous substances (like asbestos), that the electricity is on, that the home complies with local housing ordinances, entering the property without notice, etc.

It soon became a problem where many landlords landed themselves in court simply because they didn’t understand that certain conduct violated the law. Because ignorance of the law is not a permissible defense, judges were put in a situation in which they had to assess fines and punish individual landlords who thought that they were doing the right thing.

Eventually, Salt Lake City adopted the Landlord/Tenant initiative intented to provide an incentive for landlords to become more well-informed. The program also focuses on general improvement of neighborhoods and helping landlords to find good tenants, reduce crime, improve dwellings, etc.

If you are looking for a Utah landlord attorney or a Utah eviction lawyer, do not hesitate to give us a call. Our lawyers are experienced in landlord/tenant law and will be able to answer your questions in minutes. Generally, those who own rental units do so in an effort to REDUCE the amount of time they ultimate have to work by providing passive income. Let us take burdens off your shoulders by dealing directly with defaulting tenants.