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9

Renters Rights’

A Fair & Balanced Deal

Every community needs to strike a balance between the property rights of landlords and the human rights of their renters. Sadly, Utah law is widely unbalanced in favor of the landlords.

I rented Provo apartments for over seven years. I saw firsthand how little power renters have when my landlord failed to pay the mortgage and my roommates and I were evicted by the bank during the foreclosure—in the middle of a school semester, which made finding a new place to live nearly impossible. We had no choice but to move into another property owned by the same delinquent landlord—who then decided to double the rent when our contracts were up. Stories like mine, or about renters without heat in the winter, are far too common in Provo—but they don’t have to be.

Fair rental reform should include:

A guarantee that renters’ Constitutional and statutory rights be preserved under the terms of lease agreements.

An upper limit on how much rent can increase from year to year without physical property improvements.

A requirement for landlords to prorate and/or refund rent for days in which a unit was not habitable according to law (because you shouldn’t have to pay rent for days when the water was off or the heater was busted).

Requiring landlords to regularly test for radon gas and mitigate unhealthy levels of this carcinogen.

Penalties for landlords whose leases violate state statutes.

Awarding the cost of legal fees to the prevailing party in court, not automatically to the landlord.

Reasonable limits to additional fees landlords can add to lease agreements.

A vote for Daniel Craig Friend is a vote for renters’ rights.

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