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The Utah Judiciary is committed to the open, fair, and efficient administration of justice under the law. Find important information on what to do about your case and where to find help on our Alerts and Information Page due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

El poder judicial de Utah está comprometido a la administración de justicia de una manera abierta, justa y eficiente bajo la ley. En nuestra página Información y alertas encontrará información importante sobre qué hacer en cuanto a su caso y dónde encontrar ayuda debido al impacto del brote de COVID-19.

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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Eviction Information for Landlords

CDC Eviction Moratorium and COVID-19 Information

The pandemic has led to changes to the law on evictions. Check back here for updates.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a partial moratorium (ban) on evictions for nonpayment of rent. The court is also requiring landlords seeking to evict someone to sign a COVID Eviction declaration.

Click here more information about the eviction moratorium and about the COVID Declaration and to find forms

CDC Eviction Moratorium

The CDC moratorium protects tenants until June 30, 2021. It only covers evictions for nonpayment of rent - other kinds of evictions (such as nuisance or a lease violation) are still allowed. The CDC moratorium was originally set to expire on December 31, 2020, but the protections were extended by Congress under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and further extended by another order from the CDC.

Protection under the moratorium is not automatic. Tenants must sign a declaration and give it to you. If you receive a signed declaration from your tenant, you cannot take any action to remove them for nonpayment of rent until July 1, 2021. Sample declarations are below:

  • English declaration - PDF
  • Declaración en español (Spanish declaration) - PDF

The moratorium does not forgive rent. Late fees and penalties can still accrue during the moratorium. There is a Housing Assistance Program that lets you apply for rental assistance on behalf of your tenants. More information is available from the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The moratorium was issued to help stop the spread of COVID-19. There can be criminal penalties against people who violate the order, including fines up to $250,000 and one year in jail.

COVID Eviction Declaration

Separate from the CDC moratorium, the court has issued an updated Administrative Order. This requires you to complete a COVID Eviction Declaration and to serve it and file it when you start your eviction case.

  • COVID Eviction Declaration - PDF | Word

This form shows that you have complied with COVID relief laws, including the CARES Act and the CDC eviction moratorium. Under the CARES Act, if:

  • You have received forbearance on a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan
  • And your tenant lives in the property under forbearance

Then you cannot evict them for nonpayment of rent or charge them late fees or penalties for late payment of rent while you are in forbearance.

There may be other protections if your tenants live in a covered property under the CARES Act. If you have questions about your obligations, consider getting legal advice. See our Finding Legal Help page for information about ways to get legal help.


This page includes information about the residential eviction process only. The page does not address commercial evictions.

Introduction

This page explains the process you must follow to evict a tenant. Note that an eviction case must be filed by the owner of the property. If the property is owned by a business, like a corporation or an LLC, a lawyer or a licensed paralegal professional must represent the owner and file the court case. See our Finding Legal Help page for information on how to get legal help.

If you are a tenant and facing eviction, see our page on Eviction information for tenants.

Generally the process to evict a tenant involves three steps:

Each step can take a few days. See the Road map of the eviction process for an overall picture of the process and timelines. Some procedures may vary from court to court.

This page also has information on when you can request a money judgment.

Different requirements for subsidized housing and mobile home parks

Under Code of Federal Regulations Title 24, Chapter VIII you must take special steps to evict a tenant from government subsidized housing. You might want to get legal advice. See our Finding Legal Help page for information on how to get legal help.

A mobile home park owner evicting an owner-resident of a mobile home follows different procedures governed by Utah Code Title 57, Chapter 16, Mobile Home Park Residency Act. See the S J Quinney College of Law's Mobile Home Park Helpline web page for additional resources.

Evicting a tenant without a court order is against the law

It is against the law for a landlord to intentionally exclude a tenant from the tenant's residential residence in any manner without a court order. This includes changing the locks, shutting off utilities, taking property belonging to the tenant, harassing the tenant or blocking the tenant from entering or exiting the residence. A tenant is someone who has a rental agreement or lease (written or oral), has given the owner (or primary occupant) something of value in exchange for living there, or both.

Something of value can include money, an exchange of labor, or contributing toward household expenses such as utilities or groceries.

Utah Legal Services has more information about lockouts.

Utah Code 78B-6-814

A long-term guest (a person who does not have a rental agreement and has not given the landlord something of value in exchange for living there) is not a tenant. The police may assist in removing a long-term guest under criminal trespass law.

Step 1: Serve the tenant a notice to vacate

View Instructions: Step 1: Serve the tenant a notice to vacate

The first step in the eviction process is to serve the tenant with a notice to vacate.

Choose the notice

You must choose the right notice for your situation. The notices described below are available in the forms section. Fill out the notice and serve it on your tenant.

If the tenant is properly served with a notice and does not comply with it, they are considered to be in "unlawful detainer" for each day they remain in the residence after the deadline on the notice.

Utah Code 78B-6-802

3 day notice to pay or vacate

View Details: 3 day notice to pay or vacate

This notice is used if the tenant owes rent or other money. This notice tells the tenant they have 3 business days to pay all of the money listed on the notice or move out. It must give the tenant the option to pay all of the money. If the tenant pays all of the money, then they can stay in the residence.

If the tenant moves out and still owes money you can sue them for the money they owe by filing a small claims case or a civil case depending on the amount of damages you claim.

Utah Code 78B-6-816

3 day notice to comply with lease or vacate

View Details: 3 day notice to comply with lease or vacate

This notice is used if the tenant has violated a term of the rental agreement that can be corrected. This notice tells the tenant they have 3 calendar days to comply with the agreement or move out. If the tenant complies with the agreement, then they can stay in the residence.

3 day notice to vacate for nuisance

View Details: 3 day notice to vacate for nuisance

This notice is used if the tenant is creating a nuisance. A nuisance is something that interferes with someone else's comfortable enjoyment of their life or property. It can include anything that injures health, is indecent, offensive to the senses, or interferes with someone's free use of property. There are two types of nuisance: criminal nuisance and non-criminal nuisance. No matter what type of nuisance, the notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to move and does not have to give them any other options.

Examples of non-criminal nuisance include:

  • Disturbing other tenants or neighbors
  • Having parties so frequently as to interfere with any neighbor's quiet enjoyment
  • Having so many visitors so frequently as to interfere with any neighbor's quiet enjoyment
  • Smoking, and the tenant's tobacco smoke drifts into another residence, but only if the landlord prohibits smoking in all units
  • Buying, selling, manufacturing, storing, or dispensing illegal drugs or ingredients for illegal drugs*
  • Gambling which interferes with any neighbor's quiet enjoyment*
  • Regularly committing prostitution or promoting prostitution*
  • Weapons violations contrary to Utah Code 76-10-501 et seq.
  • Committing criminal acts along with another person. These acts are determined by statute, but may include such things as assault, homicide, kidnapping, felony sexual offenses, sexual exploitation of a minor, destruction of property, burglary, criminal trespass, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft, fraud, extortion, bribery, explosives offenses, weapons offenses, pornography, communications fraud*

* If these acts meet the definition for criminal nuisance, you can use a criminal nuisance notice.

Examples of criminal nuisance include:

  • Committing a felony
  • Committing a criminal act affecting the health or safety of a tenant, the landlord, the landlord's agent, or other person on the landlord's property
  • Committing a criminal act causing damage or loss to any tenant's property or the landlord's property
  • Committing a drug or gang related criminal act
  • Threatening violence against any tenant or other person on the property, or against the landlord or the landlord's agent
  • Committing any other criminal act that directly impacts the peaceful enjoyment of the property by any tenant or neighbor, for example, violating building or health codes

3 day notice to vacate for assigning or subletting contrary to rental contract

View Details: 3 day notice to vacate for assigning or subletting contrary to rental contract

This notice is used if the tenant has allowed someone else to live in the property in violation of the rental contract. This notice orders the tenant to move out within 3 calendar days. It does not have to give them any other options.

3 day notice to vacate for committing waste on the premises

View Details: 3 day notice to vacate for committing waste on the premises

"Waste" is harm to the residence - it can be physical harm, failure to maintain the property, or a failure do something else, like a failure to pay taxes (if that is required under the lease). This notice is used if the tenant is damaging or has damaged the landlord's property, but not necessarily rising to the level of nuisance. (If the damage caused by the tenant meets the criteria for either nuisance or criminal nuisance, the landlord should use the appropriate nuisance notice instead.) This notice orders the tenant to move out within 3 calendar days. It does not have to give them any other options.

3 day notice to vacate for engaging in unlawful business on or in the premises

View Details: 3 day notice to vacate for engaging in unlawful business on or in the premises

This notice is used if the tenant is engaging in an unlawful business on the landlord's property, but not necessarily rising to the level of nuisance. (If the business meets the criteria for either nuisance or criminal nuisance, the landlord should use the appropriate nuisance notice instead.) This notice orders the tenant to move out within 3 calendar days. It does not have to give them any other options.

3 day notice to vacate for lease violation which cannot be brought into compliance

View Details: 3 day notice to vacate for lease violation which cannot be brought into compliance

This notice is used if the tenant has violated the lease and there is no way that they can fix the violation. This notice orders the tenant to move out within 3 calendar days. It does not have to give them any other options.

3 day notice to vacate for committing criminal act on the premises

View Details: 3 day notice to vacate for committing criminal act on the premises

This notice is used if the tenant has committed a criminal act, but not necessarily rising to the level of criminal nuisance. If the criminal act meets the criteria for criminal nuisance, the landlord should use that notice instead. This notice orders the tenant to move out within 3 calendar days. It does not have to give them any other options.

Notice to vacate by end of rental period (15-day notice to vacate)

View Details: Notice to vacate by end of rental period (15-day notice to vacate)

This notice can be used to end a tenancy that does not have a set end date. This can include a tenancy that goes from month to month or some other rental period. The landlord does not have to have a reason for wanting the tenant to vacate. The notice must be served at least 15 calendar days before the end of the rental period. Otherwise, the tenant can stay until the end of the next rental period. If the rental agreement requires that more than 15 days notice be given, the landlord must give the longer notice required by the agreement.

This notice orders the tenant to move out by the end of the rental period. It does not have to give them any other options.

5 day notice to vacate to tenant at will

View Details: 5 day notice to vacate to tenant at will

This notice can be used only if there is no rental agreement, oral or written. This situation may occur if:

  • A guest refuses to leave
  • The rental agreement has expired and the landlord has told the tenant that the contract will not be renewed
  • A new owner has purchased the property through bankruptcy, foreclosure, or sheriff's sale and has received a title terminating all rental contracts. (If the new owner is evicting a tenant after purchasing the property in a regular sale and the tenant is on a month-to-month tenancy, the new owner must serve the tenant with a 15-day notice. Otherwise, the tenant has a right to live in the home until the rental agreement expires)

This notice orders the tenant to move out within 5 calendar days. It does not have to give them any other options.

How to serve the notice to vacate (eviction notice)

The notice to vacate can be served by any person, including the landlord. It must be served in one of the following ways:

  • By delivering it to the tenant personally
  • By mailing it registered or certified mail, or an equivalent means, to the tenant at the tenant's residence
  • If the tenant is absent from the residence, by leaving it with a person of suitable age and discretion and also mailing it to the tenant at the tenant's residence, or
  • If a person of suitable age or discretion cannot be found at the tenant's residence, by affixing it in a conspicuous place on the property

Utah Code 78B-6-805

Step 2: file the Summons and Complaint and have them served

View Instructions: Step 2: file the Summons and Complaint and have them served

If the tenant does not comply with a notice to vacate (eviction notice) that was validly served on them you can take the next step in the eviction process. This involves filing papers with the court and then having them served on the tenant. You can use OCAP to prepare papers.

File the following documents with the court:

  • A Summons - giving the tenant 3 business days from the date of service to respond to the Complaint
  • A Complaint
  • The written rental agreement (if there was one)
  • The eviction notice that was served
  • An itemized calculation of past-due rent, damages, costs and attorney fees, if any
  • An explanation of the factual basis for the eviction, and
  • Notice to the defendant of the defendant's required disclosures

Who is the plaintiff?

The Complaint must name the property owner as plaintiff. If the property is owned by an entity, like a corporation or an LLC, they must be represented by a lawyer in the case.

Utah Code 78B-6-801 and URCP 17

Who is the defendant?

The tenant and anyone who has signed the lease can be named as defendants. A tenant includes a subtenant, a guest or a relative, even if not paying rent. If there is a subtenant occupying the residence, the subtenant also can be named as a defendant. You might want to get advice about whether to name minors living in the residence as defendants in the lawsuit. See our page on Finding Legal Help for more information.

The landlord does not have to specifically name all of the people occupying the residence as defendants. For example, if the landlord does not know the name(s) of some of the people, s/he may refer to them as "John Doe" or "Jane Doe." However, the landlord can get a judgment only against tenants who are properly served, or who appear in the proceedings.

Utah Code 78B-6-806

A tenant may evict a subtenant for the same reasons and using the same procedures as described on this page.

Utah Code 78B-6-804

Serving court documents on the tenant

After you file your documents, arrange to have them served on the tenant. The rules regarding service of the court documents are more strict than the rules for serving the notice. See our webpage on service for details about how to have the Complaint served. Once the Summons and Complaint have been served, file proof of service with the court.

If you can't find the tenant or you don't know their identity or if service on all of the tenants isn't practical, you can file a motion asking to serve by alternative means. For more information and forms, see our Alternative Service page.

URCP 4 and Utah Code 78B-6-807

Next steps

What happens next depends on what the tenant does. If the tenant files an Answer to the Complaint you can request an occupancy hearing. If the tenant does not file an Answer you can request a default judgment.

Occupancy hearing

If your tenant files an Answer, you can request an occupancy hearing. You can get the forms to request the occupancy hearing from OCAP, in the same interview you used to prepare your court papers. The court will hold a hearing within 10 days.

You must serve the following documents on the tenant (or their attorney) at least 2 days before the hearing by the method most likely to be promptly received:

  • Any document not already disclosed that will be presented at the hearing
  • The name and contact information for each witness that will be called at the hearing
  • A summary of the expected testimony of any witness that will be called

The tenant (or their attorney) must serve the following documents on you at least 2 days before the hearing by the method most likely to be promptly received:

  • Any document not already disclosed that will be presented at the hearing
  • The name and contact information for each witness that will be called at the hearing
  • A summary of the expected testimony of any witness that will be called

At the hearing the judge will decide who has the right to occupy the residence while the case moves forward. If the tenant does not attend the hearing after having received notice, the judge will issue an Order of Restitution. This order directs the sheriff or constable to evict the tenant and return possession to you.

If the judge finds that all of the issues can be decided without more hearings, the judge will decide those issues and enter judgment on the merits. If the judge decides there is a need for more information and hearings (such as whether the tenant is responsible for damage to the rental premises) and the tenant remains in possession of the residence, the judge will begin the trial within 60 days after the day on which the Complaint was served unless the parties agree otherwise.

Utah Code 78B-6-810

If the court does not automatically schedule a trial you can file papers to ask the court for a trial. See our page on Getting Ready for Trial - Civil Cases for more information.

Hearing for criminal nuisance

If the case is for criminal nuisance the court will hold an evidentiary hearing, which is similar to an occupancy hearing. The hearing will be within 10 days of the day the Complaint is filed. Notice of the hearing must be served on the tenant with the Summons at least 3 calendar days before the hearing.

Utah Code 78B-6-810(3)

Alternative to occupancy hearing: possession bond

View Instructions: Alternative to occupancy hearing: possession bond

If you don't want to wait 10 days for an occupancy hearing you can file for a possession bond. This allows you to take possession of the residence while the eviction case moves forward, and have money to pay the tenant's damages if, in the end, you are not entitled to possession. But a possession bond may not be needed. Eviction cases are designed to conclude quickly.

The judge must approve the amount of the bond. The amount must be enough to pay the tenant's probable costs and damages if the court awards judgment for the tenant and against you. The bond may be a corporate or cash bond or certified funds. A cash bond is money deposited with the court. The court will hold the money in trust until the case is finished. If you win, the court will return the money to you upon request. The bond may be a property bond executed by two persons who own real property in the state and who are not parties to the action. A property bond must meet the requirements of URCP 72.

You must notify the tenant that you have filed a possession bond. You must serve this in the same manner as the Summons. See our webpage on service for more details. The notice must inform the tenant of all of the remedies and procedures available to the tenant under Utah Code Section 78B-6-808(4).

Remedies and procedures available to tenant after landlord's possession bond

The tenant has the following remedies and procedures available after you file the possession bond:

  • Within 3 business days after being served with notice of the bond, the tenant may demand a hearing, which must be held within 3 business days after the tenant's demand
  • If the eviction is based solely upon failure to pay rent or other money due, the rental agreement will remain in force and the Complaint will be dismissed if the tenant, within 3 calendar days after service of the notice of the possession bond, pays accrued rent, all other money due, and other costs, including attorney fees, as provided in the rental agreement
  • For any eviction, the tenant may remain in possession of the residence by filing a counter bond. The counter bond must meet the same requirements as the original possession bond. Any prepaid rent is a portion of the tenant's counter bond
  • The tenant must file the counter bond within 3 business days after service of notice of the landlord's possession bond or within 24 hours after the court sets the amount of the counter bond, whichever is later, unless the court allows additional time

If the tenant does not comply with any of the remedies and procedures, the court will enter an Order of Restitution.

Hearing demanded by the tenant

If the court rules after the hearing demanded by the tenant that you are entitled to possession of the residence, the court will enter an Order of Restitution. If the court allows the tenant to remain in possession and if further issues must be decided, the court will require the tenant to post a counter bond. The court will expedite the remaining proceedings. If the court rules that all issues between the parties can be decided without further proceedings, the court will decide who wins.

Utah Code 78B-6-808

If the tenant does not file an Answer

If the tenant does not file an Answer within the time allowed, you can ask for a default judgment. This means you get what you asked for in the Complaint, including an Order of Restitution (the actual eviction order) and a money judgment against the tenant for the amount of money you claimed that the tenant owes you. For more information, see our page on Default Judgments. You can find the default judgment forms in OCAP, using the same interview you used to prepare your court papers.

When you file for default judgment you will have to tell the court if any of your tenants are in the military. If a tenant is on active duty in the military the court could delay the eviction for 90 days. The delay could be longer or shorter depending on the circumstances.

50 US Code 3951

Step 3: file the Order of Restitution and have it served

View Instructions: Step 3: file the Order of Restitution and have it served

The court could grant your request for an Order of Restitution after an occupancy hearing, a trial or a default. The Order of Restitution tells the tenant:

  • They must vacate the residence, remove their personal property, and restore possession of the residence to the landlord, or be forcibly removed by a sheriff or constable
  • When they must vacate - usually 3 calendar days following service of the order, but it might be less, and
  • About the right to a hearing to contest how the order is enforced

The Order of Restitution must be served along with a Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution form. This form lets the tenant request a hearing if they disagree with how the Order of Restitution was enforced or something else. This form does not stop the eviction and is not an appeal.

OCAP will prepare both the Order of Restitution and the Request for Hearing Regarding Enforcement of an Order of Restitution from - use the same interview you used to prepare your court papers. You can file the Order of Restitution with the court at your occupancy hearing or when you request a default. After the court signs the Order of Restitution (the court does not sign the Request for Hearing), both forms must be served upon the tenant by a sheriff, constable or private investigator. They must serve the documents by:

  • By delivering it to the tenant personally
  • By mailing it registered or certified mail, or an equivalent means, to the tenant at the tenant's residence
  • If the tenant is absent from the residence, by leaving it with a person of suitable age and discretion and also mailing it to the tenant at the tenant's residence, or
  • If a person of suitable age or discretion cannot be found at the tenant's residence, by affixing it in a conspicuous place on the property

The date of service, the name, title, signature, and telephone number of the person serving the order and the form must be legibly written on both documents served on the tenant.

Utah Code 78B-6-812

Your responsibilities after the tenant is evicted

If the tenant fails to move out as required in the Order of Restitution, a sheriff or constable may enter the residence by force to remove the tenant. After that, the tenant cannot reenter the residence.

However, you must give the tenant reasonable access within 5 business days to retrieve:

  • Clothing
  • Identification
  • Financial documents, including all those related to the tenant's immigration status or employment status
  • Documents about the receipt of public services, and
  • Medical information, prescription medications, and any medical equipment required for maintenance of medical needs

The tenant has the right to retrieve these items without paying any storage costs.

Other items left by the tenant may be removed by the sheriff or constable or left behind. You are allowed to charge a reasonable moving or storage cost for these items. If the tenant does not pay the moving and storage costs and recover the personal property within 15 calendar days, the property is considered abandoned. You may then sell or donate these items. For more information, see our page on Tenant's Personal Property.

Money judgment

View Instructions: Money judgment

You can request a money judgment when the tenant has been evicted and the tenant:

  • Loses the case because they did not file an Answer (default)
  • Files an Answer but fails to appear at the occupancy hearing, if the court strikes (removes) their Answer and enters a default
  • Loses at trial

If the tenant appeared at the occupancy hearing and was evicted, you must proceed to trial before you can request a money judgment. See our page on Getting Ready for Trial - Civil Cases for more information.

You can get a money judgment for rent or damage to the residence, or both. The judgment will end the rental agreement, but the tenant still owes the rent for the remainder of the agreement. However, this amount is limited by your duty to reduce damages - this means you must try to rent the residence to someone else as soon as reasonably possible.

The judgment can also be also be for three times the actual damages for:

  • The daily rental value of the residence for each day the tenant stayed in the residence after the notice expired
  • Forcible entry
  • Repair of waste of the premises, and
  • The amounts due under the contract if the eviction is for nonpayment of rent or other amounts due under the contract
  • The abatement of the nuisance by eviction

You must prove all of these damages, and the amount of rent owed. You can use OCAP to prepare paperwork to request the judgment. This will be in a different interview than you used before. Look for the one titled "Landlord - Damage Judgment."

Even if the tenant defaults (does not Answer the Complaint), you must serve the tenant with the affidavit of damages and notice of any hearing to determine damages. You must serve the tenant at their last known address. If the tenant has email you can serve them by email under URCP 5. See our explanation of Service of Other Papers for more information.

Utah Code 78B-6-811

Forms

Eviction notices

  • Use OCAP to prepare the eviction notice

or

  • 3 day notice to pay or vacate - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to comply with lease or vacate - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to vacate for criminal nuisance - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to vacate for nuisance - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to vacate for assigning or subletting contrary to rental contract - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to vacate for committing waste on the premises - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to vacate for engaging in unlawful business on or in the premises - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice to vacate for lease violation which cannot be brought into compliance - PDF | Word
  • 3 day notice for committing criminal act on the premises - PDF | Word
  • 15 day notice to vacate - PDF | Word
  • 5 day notice to vacate to tenant at will - PDF | Word

Other documents

  • Use OCAP to
    • prepare eviction documents to be filed in court - choose the interview titled "Landlord - Eviction Documents for Court"
    • prepare judgment for damages to be filed in court - choose the interview titled "Landlord - Damage Judgment"
  • Notice to Defendant of Disclosure Requirements in Unlawful Detainer Actions - PDF | Word
  • Order of Restitution - PDF | Word
  • Objection to Form of Order or Judgment - PDF | Word
    (Must be served with the Order of Restitution)
  • COVID Eviction Declaration - PDF | Word

Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 4/9/2021
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