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Utah Executive Order Affects Rents and Evictions

| Apr 9, 2020 | Firm News |

On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Governor Gary Herbert issued an EXECUTIVE ORDER regarding the “suspension of certain statutes governing eviction proceedings.” Numerous questions have resulted from this EXECUTIVE ORDER which we would like to add some clarity to:

  1. This order applies only to residential properties. Commercial properties are not applicable.
  2. This order is not a deferral or abatement of rent. In fact, no legal obligations of the tenant are being altered.
  3. Evictions can still occur for every situation not specifically enumerated in the order. Specifically, the Executive Order clarifies:
    • the Executive order does not “suspend enforcement of [eviction proceedings] as the part relates to a commercial tenant”;
    • the Executive order does not “prohibit evictions for any reason other than evictions for non-payment of rent by a tenant who meets the criteria” summarized in paragraph 4 below;
    • the Executive order does not “create, require, or imply rent forgiveness.”
  4. Evictions are postponed until May 15th for tenants who:
    • Are current on their rent as of March 31, 2020
    • Either lost their job or suffered a loss of wages due to COVID-19, or contracted COVID-19, or are under quarantine by order due to COVID-19.

On May 15th, 2020, eviction proceedings may be brought against those who qualified for the temporary suspension of eviction if they aren’t current, and the landlord can pursue collections as allowed under the contract. We need to strongly clarify that this is not an invitation to skip out on rent nor is it a “get out of rent free card.”

We will continue to advocate on behalf of landlords who still have mortgage payments due and whose lenders may not always be so merciful. We understand that the collection of lost revenue may not be possible in many cases, and that landlords should receive due consideration as state and federal stimulus dollars become available to make them whole.

Thank you for doing your part as we all work together through these uncertain times.