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apartment for rent photoSalt Lake City recently amended its rental statutes to require that all landlords–regardless of the number of units, must have a license to rent out their properties. The license fees are about $110 per year.

Landlords face an additional assessment as high as $342 per unit–unless they get a break for good behavior.

The only way to avoid paying the fees, which are assessed for any rental including single and double family homes, in-law apartments, boarding houses and fraternities/sororities, is to participate in the Good Landlord Initiative training program. Those who complete the training will pay a reduced fee of $20 per unit. It is not clear whether there is a fee for the training, which runs for 8 hours, and requires a  4-hour follow up session every other year.

There is evidence that such a program can work. SLC officials report an 11% reduction in police calls in rental units. Yet, response to the new amendment is mixed. Tenants fear the higher fees will mean higher rent. Responsible landlords say the timing is bad because driving up costs in this economy only makes it harder for people to find rental housing.

Others say that building problems are sometimes caused by reckless tenants, and suggest that rather than focusing on the landlords, the city should license tenants, and offer a “good tenant” discount.

Local residents who are renting rooms to family,  the elderly or only temporarily appear to be the most impacted by the recent change.

According to a local news report, SLC expects to receive $1.8 million in additional revenue as a result of these changes to the program. City officials say the funds will go towards the training program.

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  • Tania Donovan

    Another form of government intervention. Excuse my bitter attitude but whether I am the landlord or the tenant these controls BY the government on its citizens are not necessary. Incentives or not, hands of the government should not be in the mix. There is no explanation for the fee of this “program” or where this money will go (exactly)? A landlord should be able to not dread their own invenstments because of penalties (essentially what these are) they are having to pay the GOVERNMENT for simply owning a property. A tenant should not have to pay an increased amount of rent simply because the government claims this new incentive has been created to support them. Ridiculous. I hope this doesn’t spread to other cities in the US and we continue giving up our rights….for our own Government to control instead.

  • gary

    This training must be interesting. I guess that somehow the landlord must now enforce good behavior on the part of the tenant. The traditional job of the landlord has been to provide property for the use of others. More and more that role seems to be morphing into some sort of parental role.

    In the case of misbehaving/destructive/scofflaw tenants, you can be sure the City will be right there overprotecting the tenants “rights” while the landlord pursues an eviction.

    The touted success of this training program suggests that it could logically be expanded to other areas such as bar/tavern owners, restaurants, sports arenas, and other locations where altercations and random misbehavior might occur.

    As for the $1.8 million supposedly being devoted to “training” – I can visualize a group of landlords being gathered together in a big auditorium while some low level type City government employee bores them to death for a day. Of course, this valuable “training” must be repeated each year to justify the fees.

    Until landlords somehow band together with a common voice, I fear this sort of ever-increasing government silliness will continue.

  • Ron in Colorado


    I ditto that and THANK YOU!
    Just another way for the govt. to stick it to the sitting duck and let the violator go free.

    As I’ve blogged on this site before, the City of Aurora, Colorado will fine a landlord $1000 if the tenant is storing junk on the outside of the rental house.

    Also because the city worker won’t get off their ass and keep the tenant current on the water bill, the tenant can rack up a $400 water bill and the tenant can move out the stick it to the landlord.

    Makes me wonder where the City of Aurora (an other municipalities) got their business model. The Third Reich or the Mafia.

  • mel

    Utah is a red state, right? Repumpkins say they are for smaller government, then pass this kind of legislation. Hypocrites!

  • Jess

    I’ve been a tenant and a landlord, and my parents are landlords of a small, 12 unit complex. Even though I’ve seen it happen NUMEROUS times, it still amazes me that tenants not only have so many rights that seem so unjust and unconstitutional, but that they are also given free legal representation to help them in court when they get evicted for non-payment of rent and sued for damages to the property they were renting. While the landlord has to pay for an attorney or represent themselves. The tenant can sit there and live in the unit without paying rent for sometimes 2, 3, even 4 months before it gets to court, and if utilities are included in their rent the landlord can’t turn them off but the tenant can sit there and spitefully run them up even more than they did when they were paying rent; and do more and more maliscious damage to the property. So now, not only is the landlord not getting paid the money they were suppose to for rent, but its costing them even more every single DAY. Then they have to pay to go to court and defend themselves against these people….which of course cost about $300 just to serve them papers to evict in the first place..yet another cost! Then on the actual court date, some tenants move out that day or the day before. They knew to do that because they were advised by their FREE legal rep. that they could live there for free just milking the landlords for every free day of rent they can get up until that point, then they could just pick up and leave without a single consequence!! What kind of system is that? If they do go to court, it is AMAZING AND APPALLING how much they are allowed to get away with. Maybe this is just this bad here in our part of Florida, but its disgusting. Landlords have to, and rightfully should, provide a certain standard of living for the tenant and must keep it up. They also have to follow very STRICT guidelines in every single thing they do…from the application, to the end of the lease or eviction, as it may be. If they even serve a late notice and the dollar amount is wrong by $1.00, and that late notice is part of the eviction process, then that $1.00 error is enough to throw out the evicition here. Yet, the tenant can owe thousands of dollars of back rent and could have destroyed the home and have no consequences. Why is it all up to the landlord to make sure the tenant lives up to their responsibilities? When did the definition of a Landlord turn into the same thing as a parent? Why does one have to take the responsibility of the other. They are both adults and should both be held accountable for their own actions as individuals.
    Some “Good Landlord Discount” or “Good Tenant Discount” is a load of crap. Like you said….just one more way for the Government to get in the way and take more money from citizens and not still not solve any issues in our country, our system, or with Landlords and Tenants. That’s all Landlords need….is to pay another fee. If that happens, there will be less and less places to rent. Landlords won’t be able to afford to pay it, and if they do have to pay it (especially those like my parents who own just a few rentals) they’ll have to increase the rent so much that tenants won’t be able to afford it. I think politicians forget we don’t make as much as they do and get all the “perks” they receive. We live in the real world! Or maybe they do remember and that’s their goal…is to make everyone homeless and even more poor. It use to be the American dream to own a home…recently its been so many people’s hope just to be able to qualify to rent a place…soon it will be just to have any kind of roof over their head….anywhere, of any kind. Its almost as if the government wants us all to leave the United States and live in some other country. How American is our government? Why don’t they go after the companies who actually have money instead of the ones who are struggling to survive. There’s plenty of those they could go after but it seems like they are too scared to bother them.
    Sorry for the long email…obviously this is a sore subject with me. Myself and my family has been affected many times by this. Good luck to everyone and I really hope and pray this statute does not continue to spread!! 1.8 million in revenue for training???? Are you kidding me??? Again I say APPALLING, RIDICULOUS, AND JUST OUTRIGHT SCANDALOUS!!!
    Okay…I’m done! 🙂

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