What if the tenant is avoiding service of the summons and complaint?

One major cause for delay in any eviction is service of the Summons and Complaint. Generally, it is no surprise to the tenant that he or she is being eviction, especially since a notice of the eviction has already been posted. Many tenants have experience being evicted and they know how to drag it out. One way to do that is to hide inside the residence and never answer the door. There are several different ways to serve the tenants.

First, the landlord can post a 24-hour notice of inspection, returning the next day with a process server while the inspection is being conducted. Many landlords have had great success with this trick. We generally do not use this trick simply because we don’t know if the tenant will be in the home or not.

The most common method is to file a motion for alternate service. The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure permit a plaintiff to request alternative means of service as long as you can show that diligent efforts were made to serve the tenant in accordance with the rules and the alternate service is likely to provide the tenant with adequate notice of the pending case. Typically, alternate service is done by posting a copy of the summones and complaint on the front door and mailing copys via US first class mail.

Although there is no specific rule, most judges like to see that five separate attempts have been made to serve the tenant before granting a motion for alternate service. However, if it is clear from one attempt that the tenant is avoiding service, then a single attempt is necessary. For example, if the tenant sees the process server and runs inside, closing the door behind himself, this behavior would be grounds for alternate service.

If you are having trouble getting someone served, it may be time to consider hiring a utah eviction attorney to give you a hand. We do all of our evictions for a flat fee of $290.00 for attorey fees. We do not charge extra to prepare a motion for alternate service.