Most residential leases and rental agreements in Utah require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Utah landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Utah law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
No. In Utah, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level, but check your city and county laws to see if your municipality has set a cap on security deposits for residential rentals.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Utah for returning a security deposit?
Under Utah law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant has moved out, or within 15 days of receiving the tenant's forwarding address, whichever is later (but, if there is damage to the premises, the landlord can take the full 30 days).
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Utah landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Utah?
Yes. In addition to complying with Utah laws on security deposit limits and how (and when) the deposit must be returned to tenants, landlords in Utah must -- for written leases or rental agreements only -- disclose if and when part of the security deposit is nonrefundable.
Where can I look up Utah law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Utah law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Utah Code Annotated §§ 57-17-1 to 57-17-5. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Utah. For tips on looking up Utah state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information on tenant rights in Utah in the guide available at http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/landlord/#11 or http://www.thehomeownerscafe.com/docs/utah-renters-handbook.pdf.