Tenants and landlordIt’s important to realize that just as you have rights as a landlord, your tenants also have specific rights, and it’s important that you respect them. Conducting yourself in a professional manner will help preserve a mutually beneficial working relationship between yourself and your tenants. Hiring a management service like Rhino Property Management can further preserve this relationship if you’re not well-versed in landlord-tenant laws, and the demands and duties of a landlord.

Communicate Appropriately and Professionally

One of the biggest reasons for conflict between landlords and tenants is that communication breaks down when one or both forget that this is a professional, business relationship. It’s important to always conduct yourself the way you would in any other professional setting: be organized, put your best foot forward, and keep your emotions in check.

Make sure that you go over the rental agreement together point by point in order to ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to the way that you divide the duties and costs of the property. It’s also legally required that a tenant is given at least 15 days’ notice of any changes in the rental agreement, including a rent increase.

Tenants Have the Right to a Safe Place

All residents have the right to live in “habitable” living conditions, according to the Utah Fit Premises Act. Habitable conditions addresses deficiencies in the heating, plumbing, electrical systems, hot and cold water, and air conditioning systems. It also protects against unsafe or unsanitary conditions either in the rental unit itself, or in common areas. If these conditions are not met, a tenant can issue a request for maintenance and it must be addressed within three days. Other issues that affect living conditions have different time standards, but all must be taken care of by the landlord, or property management, or else legal action can be taken by the tenants under the Fit Premises Act.

All landlords must abide by health, building, fire, and safety codes and laws put in place by the state or county. The unit must comply with regulations in order to be rented out legally.

Tenants Have the Right to Fair Housing

The law protects against discrimination in housing based on race, religion, sex, or disability. In some areas, there are also laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Many landlords don’t realize certain things they’re doing can be construed as discrimination. It’s important to maintain positive relationships with tenants so that misunderstandings don’t happen, but even more importantly, it’s essential to understand the law so that you know when you are and are not crossing the line.

Tenants Have the Right to Privacy

The Utah Fit Premises Act has a specific section called “the Right to Peaceful Enjoyment” which details the privacy guidelines between tenants and landowners. Although the property is yours, your tenants have the right to privacy, and knowing that their space won’t be invaded. Unless explicitly stated otherwise in the rental agreement, a landlord or manager must give 24 hours’ notice before entering the property. The only time when this rule doesn’t apply is in case of an emergency. If there’s a fire, a plumbing disaster that compromises the stability of the property, or electrical problems that threaten safety, then the landlord can enter in order to secure the property and deal with the emergency.

There Are Strict Standards Regarding Eviction

There are very specific rules and standards outlining the process for eviction in Utah. If a resident violates the terms of a rental agreement, participates in illegal activity, or fails to pay rent, they can be evicted from the property. A landlord must submit notice of eviction to the tenant three days before taking legal action. Although many landlords wish to expedite the eviction process, it’s illegal to lock a resident out, physically evict them, or confiscate their property. A landlord may file for eviction, but the actual eviction must be done by a police officer following a court-issued order.