Compromise bill giving Utah tenants more notice of rent increases moves forward

Jan 31, 2024, 6:29 PM | Updated: Feb 1, 2024, 6:13 am

SALT LAKE CITY — It can be difficult to find out your rent is going up, especially if you don’t have a lot of notice.

A bill on Utah’s Capitol Hill aims to change that, and it’s attracting a surprising level of support.

HB355, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, requires landlords to give tenants 60 days’ notice if rent is increasing.

The bill, which passed unanimously Wednesday out of the House Business and Labor Committee, is supported by tenant and landlord groups – both of which say it will make life better for renters in Utah.

“This is really going to help renters be able to make a great decision on their future,” said Tara Rollins, executive director of Utah Housing Coalition. “Whether they should stay and be strapped for cash in a place because rent has gone up so much or be able to move out.”

Gavin Gilbert with the Rental Housing Association of Utah – which represents landlords – called the bill “a good policy.”

“It’s going to address the high rents,” Gilbert said. “While at the same time creating enough exemptions for the private market to function.”

Similar bills have failed, as recently as last session. But this year, a compromise was struck on the 60-day notice along with adding some exceptions. For example, the bill does not apply to renters who are on a month-to-month agreement.

“We got a few of our concerns addressed,” Gilbert said. He added that “a lot” of landlords already give a 60-day notice of rent increases.

Many renters in Utah have to navigate a difficult market with tight supply and high prices. But Judkins, the bill sponsor, said she hopes her legislation will help.

“Most renters need additional time in order to know if a rent increase can be absorbed into their budget,” said Judkins, “or if they’re going to need to look for a new place.”

Rollins, with the Utah Housing Coalition, admitted she was “a little surprised” everyone agreed on the bill, allowing it to clear the House committee unanimously. But she believes it will make a difference at a time when many are struggling.

“Our whole mission is to help stabilize people in their housing,” said Rollins, “and I think that this is a good step.”

The bill now heads to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

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Compromise bill giving Utah tenants more notice of rent increases moves forward