After doing an eviction or two, you may be thinking to yourself what you could do to avoid having to evict another tenant. I have had many landlords ask whether or not they can modify their lease agreement so that in the event the tenant’s default, the landlord can change the locks and prevent the tenant from entering the premises. This type of provision is called a “self-help” provisions. Essentially, it would allow the landlord to take care of the eviction without needing Court intervention. Utah eviction law strictly prohibits self-help. So the short answer to this question is, no, you cannot include a provision in your lease that allows you to change the locks in the event of a tenant’s default.
We have all heard the phrase an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you have had several problem tenants in a row, it might mean that you should make some changes to your lease application procedure. Look for the signs of a problem tenant and do your homework. As you know, there is a substantial cost associated with a non-paying tenant, That cost can go up exponentially if you add on property damages from an angry tenant.
Many landlords will spend a month or more turning down potential tenants to find the right fit. The expense of a losing a month’s rent spending the extra time to find the right tenant is far outweighed by the expenses dealing with a bad tenant.
There is more to finding the right tenant than good credit and a stable job. To the extent you are able, look at a prospective tenant’s facebook to look for signs of behavior that may result in future problems. Don’t just ask for references, actually call them and ask questions about more than just payment history. Ask about behavior, frequencey of complaints, etc. After all, even if your tenant is paying on time, it might not be worth your time if you get a call every week just to flip a circuit breaker or test the smoke detector.
If you are looking for a landlord tenant lawyer, you have come to the right place. Our Utah eviction lawyers are experts in all aspects of landlord tenant law.