The security deposit laws in Utah are very clear. The purpose of the deposit is to cushion the landlord in case the tenant causes property damage or is unable to pay rent. In addition to these laws, you should also check to see if there are security deposit laws at the local level.
This article summarizes security deposit laws in Utah.
Does security deposit laws in Utah put a limit on the tenant’s security deposit amount?
No. At the state level, there’s no statutory limit on the amount you can ask a renter for a deposit. You should, however, check to see if there any local rental laws in this regard.
However, landlords typically charge between a month and two month’s rent. Any less may not be enough to cushion you against any lease violations by your tenant. Any more than this may discourage prospective tenants from renting your unit.
Must landlords notify tenants after receiving their security deposit?
Under Utah rental laws, you aren’t obligated to do this. That being said, notifying tenants after receiving their security deposit may help avoid future disputes. For example, regarding the security deposit amount or when it was deposited.
If you do decide to provide a written notice of receipt to the renter after receiving their security deposit, remember to state the name and address of the institution holding the security deposit; the interest rate at which they are being held; or if the funds are commingled with other funds.
How should landlords store the tenant’s security deposit in Utah?
In states like Florida, landlords may store a tenant’s security deposit in a variety of options such as posting it as a surety bond or placing it in an interest-bearing bank account. In Utah however, there are no definite instructions that dictate how a renter’s security deposit should be stored.
Does the Utah security deposit law permit landlords to charge a nonrefundable deposit?
Nonrefundable deposits are allowed in the state of Utah. The law requires you to clearly state it in writing what part of the tenant’s security deposit is nonrefundable. You can write this statement in a separate document or you can include it in an existing lease agreement.
Is a walkthrough inspection required under Utah Rental Law?
A walkthrough inspection isn’t required in Utah. Walkthroughs are important because they can help clear misunderstandings pertaining property damage in excess of wear and tear. A renter may think that they’ve left the property in good condition, but the landlord may think otherwise.
Which reasons may make a landlord keep a portion or all of the security deposit of the tenant?
There are many reasons that may give you the right to keep part or all of the tenant’s security deposit. Some of these reasons include nonpayment of rent, property damage as a result of the tenant’s negligence or carelessness, and other lease violations.
What exactly is “normal wear and tear”? The following are a few guidelines to help you determine whether the damages are a result of the deterioration that occurs in the course of living in a property.
- Dirt, dust, and grime. It’s reasonable for you to charge a cleaning fee if the renter leaves the Utah rental unit with dirty and smelly bathrooms, grimy countertops and expired food in the fridge.
- Animal damage. Scratch or chew marks on any surface, dug-up yards, and stains on the carpet from urine are not normal wear and tear.
- Cracked tiles and broken hardware. If the tiles were newly installed or a majority of them have cracked in a year, your tenant is responsible for property damage.
- Scuffed walls. Pen marks, gouges, or nail holes are property damage beyond normal wear and tear.
- Stained carpets. Pet urine, or paint, for example, on the carpets is beyond normal wear and tear. However, light stains or shoe markings in the halls and main walkways are normal wear and tear.
What happens if I sell the property?
If you sell the property while you’re still holding the tenant’s security deposit, Utah rental law requires you to either:
- Return the deposit to the renter. This is of course after you have deducted any fees because of property damage and provided the renter an itemized list of the damages as well their fees. You should also inform the new owner that you’ve returned the deposit back to the tenant. Or;
- Transfer the security deposit of the tenant to the new owner after you have made any allowable deductions. You must notify the tenant of the transfer as well as provide an itemized list of the deductions and their fees.
When and how should you return the renter’s security deposit in Utah?
Utah landlord-tenant law gives landlords 30 days to return a tenant’s security deposit after the tenant moves out. You must either return it personally to the tenant or mail it to the tenant’s last known address.
If the renter didn’t provide any mailing address, you must wait until the renter provides it. After doing so, you’ll have 15 days to send it to the tenant. It’s the responsibility of the tenant to provide you with their forwarding address.
In case there are deductions when returning the portion of the deposit to the renter, you must include a written itemized statement. The statement must state the deductions as well as their costs.
Withholding the security deposit of the tenant for no reason can attract penalties in Utah. The renter may be granted monetary damages amounting to one hundred dollars in penalties plus court costs as well as the full amount of their security deposit if you:
- Wrongfully withhold their security deposit,
- Fail to provide them with an itemized list of the deductions, or
- Fail to return the tenant’s security deposit within the time specified.
Hopefully, with this information, landlords in Utah will be able to better handle tenants’ security deposits. In addition to these laws, you should also check if there are any additional laws at the county level. If you require any help with your rental property in Utah don’t hesitate to contact us today for help!