Overview of the Eviction Process
To recover possession of real property, a landlord
must proceed according to Title 78, Chapter 36, of
the Utah Code.
First, the Utah landlord must actually end the
tenancy, by delivering to the tenant a
"Notice to Quit." This notice must be
given before filing an eviction case. Any
defects in the notice may cause dismissal of the
case, requiring the landlord to begin the
process again. The type of "Notice to
Quit" and how much notice (time) is
required is determined by the tenant's status
(i.e., a tenant at will or a tenant under
lease). Regardless of the type of tenancy,
though, the law requires the use of a summary
process action to evict. However, the
requirements for a "Notice to Quit"
can vary widely depending upon how the person
came to reside or remain at the property.
After the "Notice to Quit" time has
expired, the landlord then completes the Summons
and Complaint for "Unlawful Detainer"
(eviction). The Complaint is filed in the
district court (court of general jurisdiction
for Utah). The Summons and Complaint must be
served on the tenant by a constable, deputy
sheriff, or a person over the age of 18 years
who is not a party to the action.
After being served with the Summons and
Complaint, the tenant must file with the court
an "Answer" within the time listed in
the Summons. The Answer allows the tenant to
explain to the court and the landlord why he or
she should not be evicted, defenses against the
court action, and any claims against the
landlord. If the Answer is not filed on time,
the landlord may ask for a default judgment and
"Order of Restitution" against the
tenant. The "Order of Restitution"
directs the sheriff or constable to forcefully
evict the tenant. If the tenant files a timely
Answer, the case will proceed as a civil case
under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure
(discovery, trial, etc.)
After the complaint has been filed, the
landlord may move the case along more quickly by
filing with the court an "Owner's
Possession Bond," and serving notice upon
the tenant. This is usually done when the tenant
has answered the Complaint, eliminating the
possibility of a default judgment. The Owner's
Possession Bond must be approved by the court in
an amount equal to the probable amount of costs
of suit and actual damages to the tenant if the
eviction action was brought improperly.
Do I Evict a Tenant?
The eviction process in Utah is a four-step process.
The landlord must serve an eviction notice.
If the notice is not obeyed, the landlord must
file a court action, which allows the tenant to
present defenses in court.
If the judge rules for the landlord, the judge
will enter an order for the tenant's eviction by
A landlord must follow the law closely in
order to evict a tenant. A notice must say
exactly the right thing, and must be served on
the tenant in the right way. If the landlord
makes a mistake, a tenant may be able to get the
You may complete the documents required to initiate
an eviction by using the UTAH
Court Assistance Program. Click here to
Do I Respond to an Eviction?
If your landlord tries to evict you for a good
reason, the fact that you have a baby, are pregnant,
just lost your job, or have nowhere to go will not
prevent a judge from evicting you. Also, if you stay
after receiving an eviction notice, you could be
liable for three times the daily rent for the days
you stay there after the notice expires. Here are
some general tips:
An eviction begins with the service of a
summons and complaint. The summons notifies
tenants that they are being sued and that, to
protect their rights, they should
"answer" (reply) within a specified
period. The complaint explains the lawsuit and
tells the landlord's side of the story.
You may wish to contact a lawyer in order to
answer the summons. If you do not answer the
summons, you will lose the right to explain your
version of events, and a judge may issue a
default judgment in favor of the landlord.
If you must prepare the answer yourself,
respond paragraph by paragraph to each statement
in the complaint, saying whether or not you
agree with it. Next, make two copies of your
answer. Give the original to the court at the
address listed at the top of the complaint, send
a copy to the landlord or the landlord's
attorney, and keep a copy for yourself.
You may complete the documents required to respond
to an eviction by using the UTAH Online Court
here to begin.