Helpful Tips from Our Property Rights Attorneys
As a landlord, you have a tough job and seemingly endless responsibilities. If you have found yourself preparing to evict a tenant, you probably have a lot of questions. Our South Jordan property rights attorneys have compiled answers to some of the questions we frequently receive regarding evictions. We hope this FAQ proves useful to you as you prepare or navigate an eviction.
How long does an eviction take in Utah?
After the Notice to Pay or Vacate has expired, an eviction in Utah generally takes anywhere from 11 to 28 days. We guarantee that the Complaint will be filed by the first business day following engagement of our services. Otherwise, you don’t pay any attorney fees.
How much does an eviction cost in Utah?
There are essentially four fees involved in an eviction:
- First, the attorney fees.
- Second, the filing fee. The filing fee for cases with damages (like unpaid rent) for $2,000.00 and under is $75.00; for $2,001 to $10,000, it’s $185.00. For matters with damages in excess of $10,000.00, the court filing fee is $360.00.
- Third is the process server fee. This will generally run you $35.00 but you may elect to have a friend do it at no charge.
- Last is the constable or sheriff lockout fee. The constable we use charges $35.00 to post the Writ of Restitution (the order requiring the tenants to vacate) plus $75.00 to lock them out for a total of $110.00. Less than half of the evictions require a constable because most tenants move out before a constable locks them out. Most evictions cost less than $700.00 total. If you have a high volume of evictions and use the same lease for all your units, we can reduce our rate.
How much does an eviction lawyer cost?
At Carr | Woodall, we charge a flat fee of $650.00 plus another $225.00 if the tenant files an answer and a court hearing is necessary.
Does the tenant have to pay my attorney fees?
Yes, in almost every case provided you win.
How are treble damages calculated for evictions in Utah?
Treble damages are awarded in almost every case. Generally, they are simply three times the allowable damages. The most common form of damages in an eviction is past-due rent. This treble damage is calculated by taking the monthly rent and multiplying that by 12, giving you the annual rent. Divide that number by 365 to get the daily rent. Then, multiply that number by three to get the daily treble damages.
For example, let’s say rent is $1,000.00 per month. $1,000.00 X 12 = $12,000.00 per year. $12,000.00 / 365 = $32.88 per day. $32.88 X 3 = $98.64 daily treble damages. These are calculated from the first day after the Notice to Pay or Vacate expires. So, for example, if you post a Notice to Pay or Vacate on September 1, it will expire on September 4 (assuming it is a three-day notice). Starting September 5, you will be awarded $98.64 for each day the tenant remains in possession of the property. If the tenant vacates on September 20, that is 16 days. 16 X $98.64 = $1,578.24. Your total treble damages would be $1,578.24.
What do I do with the personal property left behind after my tenant vacates?
Unless it is obviously trash, you need to post a Form Notice of Intent to Dispose of Abandoned Property. The former tenant will have 15 days to make arrangements to pick up his or her stuff. You can pay a moving and storage company to clean out the space and store the personal property, and then require the tenant to pay the moving and storage expenses. We recommend that you inventory any personal property left behind with audio/visual recordings. You don’t want a former tenant to claim that you stole his brand-new 90-inch flat screen TV. Although the tenant may not get very far with a false allegation, it will be an irritating situation.
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Can I evict my tenant if I only have a verbal lease?
Yes. Verbal lease agreements for a period of less than one year are just as enforceable as a written lease agreement. The difference is that terms of the verbal lease agreement are more difficult to prove.
For instance, how do you prove that rent is due on the first rather than the fifteenth of the month? What happens if your tenant testifies that he or she was not late with rent because you agreed that it would not be due until the fifteenth of the month? Generally, in these cases, the Court will look to the history of transactions between the parties. If rent was usually paid by the first, the Court will assume the agreement was for rent to be due on the first. The best option is to avoid verbal lease agreements in the first place!
Do I have to hire a process server to post the notice to pay or vacate?
No. Utah law allows the landlord to post the notice. In most cases, landlords will post the notice before retaining our services.
What does “no self-help” mean?
Basically, no self-help means you cannot just take matters into your own hands by doing things such as changing the locks to lock out the tenant or entering the property and removing the tenant’s property. You MUST follow the judicial procedures and file a matter with the court.
How much will it cost to hire an attorney for my eviction case?
You should expect to pay at least $400.00 or more per eviction.
How are post-foreclosure evictions different from regular evictions?
There are two main differences. First, the occupant gets a five-day notice to vacate in a post-foreclosure eviction rather than a three-day notice. Second, if the occupant is a bona fide tenant pursuant to the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, you cannot evict that tenant (unless you will use the property as your primary residence) for the period of the lease. However, that tenant must continue to follow the terms of the lease including payment of rent.
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