Utah Governor Issues Executive Order Suspending Certain Residential Evictions Due to COVID-19 Crisis
April 03, 2020
By Tanya N. Lewis and Amy F. Sorenson
On March 6, 2020, the State of Utah declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis. Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has directly caused some Utah residents to lose income and become unable to pay rent, Governor Gary Herbert issued an executive order on April 2, 2020 (“EO 2020-13”), which suspends certain statutes governing residential eviction proceedings through May 15, 2020.
EO 2020-13 prohibits a landlord from evicting a residential tenant under certain circumstances. To qualify for protection, the tenant must have been current on rent as of March 31, 2020, and must have suffered a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19.
EO 2020-13 replaced a prior executive order, issued the previous day, which had extended protections to individuals who were self-isolating or in quarantine due to COVID-19, or who have tested positive for the disease. Under the current and revised order, a person must have lost income or a job due to COVID-19 to qualify for protection; simply being in quarantine, isolation or testing the positive for the disease is no longer sufficient.
EO 2020-13 also requires the Utah Department of Workforce Services to offer no-cost mediation assistance to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants as to whether the tenant meets the above eligibility requirements.
These protections do not apply to commercial tenants in Utah, and do not prohibit evictions for residential tenants who do not meet the criteria for protection as described above. Furthermore, EO 2020-13 applies only to landlord-tenant agreements, and not to mortgage payments or mortgage foreclosures. The order also does not create or require rent forgiveness, and the tenant remains responsible for all rent owed under the tenant’s rental agreement.
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