Utah Law provides some protection against deficiencies in an apartment. Generally those issues are related to the following:
no heat; airconditioner doesn't work; no water; electrical issues; plumbing issues; unsanitary or unsafe issues; and issues with other appliances or facilities as specifically contracted in your rental agreement.
The law requires a very strict process that tenants must follow in order to take advantage of this right under the law. For more information, you can review the law that holds this protection, called the "Utah Fit Premises Act" here.
This is the process to use this "Notice of Deficient Conditions":
1. You must be current on the rent to go this route.
This is a specific requirement under the law. Never just stop paying the rent. The landlord may then exercise their right to evict you for not having paid the rent.
2. There are consequences to this form, is it still what you want to do?
The landlord may opt to not correct the issues with the property and require you to vacate the property within 10 days. The landlord may also disagree that the issue with the property qualifies under the law. If this is taken to court, you may be liable for the Owner/Agent's attorney's fees if you lose. You may want to speak with an eviction defense attorney at People's Legal Aid prior to serving this form on the landlord.
3. Fill out the information below and print out the form.
The first section will ask you information about where you rent, and information about the landlord (or the Owner/Agent of the property). You will then select the type of problems you are having with the property and briefly describe them. You will then have to choose what remedy you will take if the landlord fails to correct the problem or fails to take substantial steps towards correcting the problem within the alloted time frame. Once you have completed the form, you must hit submit. The document will be created and give you the option to download it or email it to other people. The form has to be downloaded and then printed off. You must sign above where it says "Tenant Signature" and then serve the Notice to the landlord. See the next section for more on how to serve the Notice.
4. Serve the form on the landlord as described at the bottom of the form on page 2.
How to Serve the Notice of Deficient Conditions
You may serve this notice by: Delivering a copy to the Owner personally or by giving a copy to a person of suitable age and discretion at the Owner’s usual place of business or residence; Sending a copy through certified mail to the Owner’s usual place of business or residence; or If a person of suitable age or discretion cannot be found at the Owner’s usual place of business or residence, then by affixing a copy in a conspicuous place at the usual place of business or residence.
If you do not have access to a printer, try searching for "printer center near me" on the internet. These businesses generally will have an email where you can send the form and then print it out, sign it, and follow the instruction above to serve it on the Owner.
Other options that may be available to you:
1. If you are on a month-to-month contract with the landlord, you can chose to provide a notice to the landlord and terminate your agreement. The law requires at least 15 days notice before the end of the month or if the lease agreement requires a longer notice period, the tenant must use that notice period.
2. You can contact your local health department and ask them to inspect your property. Landlords can't evict you for calling the authorities.
3. You can try to send a written notice to the landlord about the issue and asking them to fix the issue, or allowing you to fix the issue. This needs to be in writing if you agree to anything with the landlord.
4. You can reach out to mediator services like Utah Community Action at 801-433-3025 or Mountain Mediation at 435-336-0060 or Utah Dispute Resolution at 801-532-4841.
Other types of issues with the property may not qualify under this notice. For example if you have caulking issues around windows or minor cosmetic issues. For these types of issues, you should provide written notice to your landlord describing the condition and ask for it to be fixed. If the issue is minor, like a limited amount of mold, the court may rule that it was a minor problem and not allow you out of the lease-and potentially allow the landlord to collect their legal fees from you. Using this form does not guarantee that the landlord will repair the issue. The law allows the landlord to decide not to repair the condition and instead ask you to leave within 10 days. The notice requires that issues that qualify under the standard of habitability be corrected within three calendar days. If the issue is imposed by the lease agreement, then the corrective period for the landlord is 10 days.
Filling out this form does not create an attorney-client relationship with any attorney from People's Legal Aid, or any firm or organization that directed you to fill out this form. You should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney prior to initiating any legal action against your landlord or the owner/agent of the rented property.
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