With a great tenant screening process, evictions are rarely necessary anymore. There are circumstances when a tenant has not been screened properly, or in rare cases, a great tenant becomes someone we have to evict. We try to do everything we can to avoid eviction, but sometimes it’s our only option. If eviction is necessary, it is very important to follow the law exactly so there are no chances of the case being dismissed or a countersuit being filed.
The Eviction Process
There are two different options to begin the eviction process. One option is to post a Three Day Notice to Pay and/or Comply with the Lease Terms. If the tenant does not adhere to this notice, the lease can then be terminated, and an eviction can be filed. The other option is to give a Three Day Notice to Quit, which does not give the tenant the option to correct the situation, rather allows them to either move or be evicted. Reasons for eviction may include:
- The tenant is running an illegal business on the property or committing a crime at the property.
- The tenant is damaging the property.
- The tenant is creating a nuisance within the property (In this instance it is crucial to have multiple police reports or corroborating witnesses to back it up).
In Utah, an eviction is called an unlawful detainer. Once the three days are up and the unlawful detainer is filed, the court will schedule a hearing within 10 days. The court will deliver a summons to the tenant letting them know when and where to appear if they wish to contest. If they do show up to contest, this will add to the eviction time, however, as long as the rules are followed, Utah law allows landlords to recover attorney fees once the case is won.
The Writ of Restitution
Once you win your case, you can apply for a Writ of Restitution from the court which instructs the tenant to vacate the premises in three days or less. This will be served to the tenant along with a blank request for a hearing. If a hearing is not requested by the tenant or the tenant does not vacate, the Writ of Restitution allows the sheriff to remove the tenant.
Removing Belongings from the Property
The tenant may arrange to remove certain belongings such as medical items, documents and clothing, free of charge within five days. After that, they will have 10 days to pick up their belongings only if they pay for the moving and storage of the items. After 15 days, if the tenant has not picked up their belongings or requested a disposition hearing, the landlord may sell, donate, or dispose of the property. During this time, landlords may move the belongings to a storage facility so they can begin working on the property. Another option is to work on the exterior of the property first and then schedule the interior work once the inside belongings have been removed.
Utah law strongly favors landlords, and evictions usually take 11 to 28 days to complete. If you have any questions about evictions or anything pertaining to property management, please contact us at Miller and Company.