BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Utah’s eviction numbers are on the rise as rental relief funds run out

Feb 20, 2023, 8:00 AM

eviction...

Utahns have about a month left to spend federal rent relief money given to the state during the pandemic (Canva)

(Canva)

SANDY— According to the Rental Housing Association of Utah (RHA) there were over 6,000 eviction filings in the state last year. Which is an increase of nearly 40% since 2021.

“Utah saw an increase in evictions in 2022 due to a winding down of federal and state rental assistance programs and a lack of affordable housing,” says Paul Smith, executive director of the RHA. 

As part of the American Rescue Plan, Utah received $344 million in Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the federal government to help individuals pay their rent during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

By the end of 2022 Utah had spent $287 million of the funds in rental assistance. 

Smith says that “demand this year has been so high the state shut down their application portal in early February and anticipates the money will be exhausted by the end of March.”

Even with the recent increases, the numbers of eviction filings are still 11% lower than they were during the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019 when average yearly filings were at 7,137. 

The RHA says the most important thing renters should do when receiving an eviction notice is to communicate with the landlord immediately to start resolving issues. 

The RHA’s five top tips when struggling to pay rent:

  1. Take inventory of personal resources: savings, credit cards, selling assets.
  2. Ask friends and family for help.
  3. Turn to your church and community. Many churches and community organizations pay one month’s rent if asked. They can also help renters create an action plan to get back on their feet.
  4. Look into government resources: rent assistance, government benefits, etc.
  5. Vacate the property.

Utah has an eviction prevention program through Utah Community Action which can be reached at 801-214-3109 or mediation@utahca.org. 

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Utah’s eviction numbers are on the rise as rental relief funds run out