HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

Bill would keep landlord honest about apartment for rent

Jan 11, 2024, 7:00 PM | Updated: May 29, 2024, 11:39 am

apartments for rent...

Apartments for rent in Sugar House on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Black mold or a cockroach invasion: Under a bill on Capitol Hill, a landlord would need to disclose to would-be renters any and all defects to the property, especially those not readily visible.

The Utah Legislature begins its 2024 session on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.

House Bill 169,  sponsored by state Rep. R. Neil Walter requires:

“That an owner of residential rental property provide each prospective renter a written disclosure describing any defects in the residential rental unit that would materially affect the renter’s decision to rent the property; and a renter could not reasonably discover in an inspection of the property.

KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas joins the show to break down the pros and cons of the upcoming legislation.

Skordas said there are 103 conditions that a landlord must follow to ensure the dwelling is safe, has clean and hot running water. He added H.B. 169 adds four new conditions to the list.

“The landlord actually has to affirmatively disclose material problems with the dwelling that may not be readily apparent to the tenant,” he said.

The tenant has the right to dwell in a safe and sanitary housing unit: Find out more about Utah Landlord Tenant Law

Full disclosure from landlords

The idea is to keep no secrets about the apartment from the prospective tenant.

“Even if the tenant looks around, if it’s not readily apparent . . . the landlord needs to go forward and make sure that the tenant is aware that there’s a problem with the dwelling.”

Not all of the burden lies with the landlord. The tenant still needs to make a good faith effort to inspect the rental.

“This doesn’t excuse the tenant from just renting a place sight unseen,” Skordas said.

The bill is designed to protect the tenant who signs the lease agreement but later discovers a major problem with the apartment, which existed before she or he inked the contract.

“I think it’s a very fair law. The Legislature is making sure that both sides are protected in the landlord-tenant agreement.”

Related:

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


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Bill would keep landlord honest about apartment for rent