Chief Sponsor: Lincoln Fillmore

House Sponsor: Mike K. McKell


8     General Description:
9          This bill modifies provisions related to rental properties.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     provides that a court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing
13     party in an action:
14               •     under the Utah Fit Premises Act; and
15               •     for unlawful detainer.
16     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
17          None
18     Other Special Clauses:
19          None
20     Utah Code Sections Affected:
21     AMENDS:
22          57-22-6, as repealed and reenacted by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 352
23          78B-6-811, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 3

25     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
26          Section 1. Section 57-22-6 is amended to read:
27          57-22-6. Renter remedies for deficient condition of residential rental unit.
28          (1) As used in this section:
29          (a) "Corrective period" means:

30          (i) for a standard of habitability, three calendar days; and
31          (ii) for a requirement imposed by a rental agreement, 10 calendar days.
32          (b) "Deficient condition" means a condition of a residential rental unit that:
33          (i) violates a standard of habitability or a requirement of the rental agreement; and
34          (ii) is not caused by:
35          (A) the renter, the renter's family, or the renter's guest or invitee; and
36          (B) a use that would violate:
37          (I) the rental agreement; or
38          (II) a law applicable to the renter's use of the residential rental unit.
39          (c) "Notice of deficient condition" means the notice described in Subsection (2).
40          (d) "Rent abatement remedy" means the remedy described in Subsection (4)(a)(i).
41          (e) "Renter remedy" means:
42          (i) a rent abatement remedy; or
43          (ii) a repair and deduct remedy.
44          (f) "Repair and deduct remedy" means the remedy described in Subsection (4)(a)(ii).
45          (g) "Standard of habitability" means a standard:
46          (i) relating to the condition of a residential rental unit; and
47          (ii) that an owner is required to ensure that the residential rental unit meets as required
48     under Subsection 57-22-3(1) or Subsection 57-22-4(1)(a) or (b)(i), (ii), or (iii).
49          (2) (a) If a renter believes that the renter's residential rental unit has a deficient
50     condition, the renter may give the owner written notice as provided in Subsection (2)(b).
51          (b) A notice under Subsection (2)(a) shall:
52          (i) describe each deficient condition;
53          (ii) state that the owner has the corrective period, stated in terms of the applicable
54     number of days, to correct each deficient condition;
55          (iii) state the renter remedy that the renter has chosen if the owner does not, within the
56     corrective period, take substantial action toward correcting each deficient condition;
57          (iv) provide the owner permission to enter the residential rental unit to make corrective

58     action; and
59          (v) be served on the owner as provided in:
60          (A) Section 78B-6-805; or
61          (B) the rental agreement.
62          (3) (a) As used in this Subsection (3), "dangerous condition" means a deficient
63     condition that poses a substantial risk of:
64          (i) imminent loss of life; or
65          (ii) significant physical harm.
66          (b) If a renter believes that the renter's residential rental unit has a dangerous condition,
67     the renter may notify the owner of the dangerous condition by any means that is reasonable
68     under the circumstances.
69          (c) An owner shall:
70          (i) within 24 hours after receiving notice under Subsection (3)(b) of a dangerous
71     condition, commence remedial action to correct the dangerous condition; and
72          (ii) diligently pursue remedial action to completion.
73          (d) Notice under Subsection (3)(b) of a dangerous condition does not constitute a
74     notice of deficient condition, unless the notice also meets the requirements of Subsection (2).
75          (4) (a) Subject to Subsection (4)(b), if an owner fails to take substantial action, before
76     the end of the corrective period, toward correcting a deficient condition described in a notice of
77     deficient condition:
78          (i) if the renter chose the rent abatement remedy in the notice of deficient condition:
79          (A) the renter's rent is abated as of the date of the notice of deficient condition to the
80     owner;
81          (B) the rental agreement is terminated;
82          (C) the owner shall immediately pay to the renter:
83          (I) the entire security deposit that the renter paid under the rental agreement; and
84          (II) a prorated refund for any prepaid rent, including any rent the renter paid for the
85     period after the date on which the renter gave the owner the notice of deficient condition; and

86          (D) the renter shall vacate the residential rental unit within 10 calendar days after the
87     expiration of the corrective period; or
88          (ii) if the renter chose the repair and deduct remedy in the notice of deficient condition,
89     and subject to Subsection (4)(c), the renter:
90          (A) may:
91          (I) correct the deficient condition described in the notice of deficient condition; and
92          (II) deduct from future rent the amount the renter paid to correct the deficient
93     condition, not to exceed an amount equal to two months' rent; and
94          (B) shall:
95          (I) maintain all receipts documenting the amount the renter paid to correct the deficient
96     condition; and
97          (II) provide a copy of those receipts to the owner within five calendar days after the
98     beginning of the next rental period.
99          (b) A renter is not entitled to a renter remedy if the renter is not in compliance with all
100     requirements under Section 57-22-5.
101          (c) (i) If a residential rental unit is not fit for occupancy, an owner may:
102          (A) determine not to correct a deficient condition described in a notice of deficient
103     condition; and
104          (B) terminate the rental agreement.
105          (ii) If an owner determines not to correct a deficient condition and terminates the rental
106     agreement under Subsection (4)(c)(i):
107          (A) the owner shall:
108          (I) notify the renter in writing no later than the end of the corrective period; and
109          (II) within 10 calendar days after the owner terminates the rental agreement, pay to the
110     renter:
111          (Aa) any prepaid rent, prorated as provided in Subsection (4)(c)(ii)(B); and
112          (Bb) any deposit due the renter;
113          (B) the rent shall be prorated to the date the owner terminates the rental agreement

114     under Subsection (4)(c)(i); and
115          (C) the renter may not be required to vacate the residential rental unit sooner than 10
116     calendar days after the owner notifies the renter under Subsection (4)(c)(ii)(A)(I).
117          (5) (a) After the corrective period expires, a renter may bring an action in district court
118     to enforce the renter remedy that the renter chose in the notice of deficient condition.
119          (b) In an action under Subsection (5)(a), the court shall endorse on the summons that
120     the owner is required to appear and defend the action within three business days.
121          (c) If, in an action under Subsection (5)(a), the court finds that the owner unjustifiably
122     refused to correct a deficient condition or failed to use due diligence to correct a deficient
123     condition, the renter is entitled to any damages, in addition to the applicable renter remedy[,
124     to:].
125          [(i) any damages; and]
126          [(ii) court costs and a reasonable attorney fee.]
127          (d) An owner who disputes that a condition of the residential rental unit violates a
128     requirement of the rental agreement may file a counterclaim in an action brought against the
129     owner under Subsection (5)(a).
130          (6) An owner may not be held liable under this chapter for a claim for mental suffering
131     or anguish.
132          (7) In an action under this chapter, the court may award costs and reasonable attorney
133     fees to the prevailing party.
134          Section 2. Section 78B-6-811 is amended to read:
135          78B-6-811. Judgment for restitution, damages, and rent -- Immediate
136     enforcement -- Remedies.
137          (1) (a) A judgment may be entered upon the merits or upon default.
138          (b) A judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff shall include an order for the restitution
139     of the premises as provided in Section 78B-6-812.
140          (c) If the proceeding is for unlawful detainer after neglect or failure to perform any
141     condition or covenant of the lease or agreement under which the property is held, or after

142     default in the payment of rent, the judgment shall also declare the forfeiture of the lease or
143     agreement.
144          (d) (i) A forfeiture under Subsection (1)(c) does not release a defendant from any
145     obligation for payments on a lease for the remainder of the lease's term.
146          (ii) Subsection (1)(d)(i) does not change any obligation on either party to mitigate
147     damages.
148          (2) The jury or the court, if the proceeding is tried without a jury or upon the
149     defendant's default, shall also assess the damages resulting to the plaintiff from any of the
150     following:
151          (a) forcible entry;
152          (b) forcible or unlawful detainer;
153          (c) waste of the premises during the defendant's tenancy, if waste is alleged in the
154     complaint and proved at trial;
155          (d) the amounts due under the contract, if the alleged unlawful detainer is after default
156     in the payment of amounts due under the contract; and
157          (e) the abatement of the nuisance by eviction as provided in Sections 78B-6-1107
158     through 78B-6-1114.
159          (3) The judgment shall be entered against the defendant for the rent, for three times the
160     amount of the damages assessed under Subsections (2)(a) through (2)(e)[, and for reasonable
161     attorney fees].
162          (4) (a) If the proceeding is for unlawful detainer, execution upon the judgment shall be
163     issued immediately after the entry of the judgment.
164          (b) In all cases, the judgment may be issued and enforced immediately.
165          (5) In an action under this chapter, the court may award costs and reasonable attorney
166     fees to the prevailing party.