Legislative Update Kick-off Report 2023

Posted By: Paul Smith Legislative Update,



Legislative Update Kick-off Report

Tuesday, January 17th 2023

The 2023 Utah Legislative Session Kicks off today. Because Utah is in an affordable housing crisis, the Rental Housing Industry is a big target and has a lot at stake.

Below are some of the issues we are aware of as we begin the session this week:

  • Affordable housing funding legislation will be a hot topic. We have asked for another $1 million for the Section 8 guarantee fund. We received $750,000 last year and as of December 31 there was less than $20,000 left, so we need more. This fund stabilizes the section 8 voucher program by paying up to $5,000 in damages for any renter on section 8. Without this funding rental operators would likely find ways to avoid working with high risk section 8 voucher recipients. The fund was a “compromise” and provided security instead of removing section 8 as a projected class under state fair housing law (the name of the protected class is source of income).

  • Housing remedies for domestic violence victims (release from lease). Current law (that we wrote about 15 years ago) allows victims of DV out of their lease with a 45 day rent equivalent termination fee. The victim also has to provide a copy of a police report or a protective order. We are working with advocates to expand the types of protective orders and evidence that trigger a release, and to reduce the amount of the fee to 30 days. In exchange we will receive some adjustments to the statute to close unintended loopholes and a date certain the tenant must be out (at least 15 days before their payment is up) so we can turn the unit and rerent by the time our revenue from that renter ends.

  • Gun legislation that affects rental property. Representative Trevor Lee is running legislation this year to shield businesses who are tenants from gun liability caused by the actions of tenants bringing guns onto their property. We have visited with him and he has committed to make sure that any legislation will not affect residential rental property.

  • EV charging station legislation. There is proposed Salt Lake City legislation to increase the requirement for hard wiring of electrical for future E/V charging stations that increases already crushing development costs. We may have to pre-empt that at the state level. Also, we expect the state E/V charging station bill run by representative Briscoe to be back this year. Last year we worked with the sponsor to eliminate mandates and make the language suggestions. The bill failed by one vote anyway because of the fear of state mandates.

  • A hostile bill that will require 90 days’ notice of rent increase. Representative Bennion has told us she will run legislation to require 90 days written notice to increase rent. We oppose this bill and have been unable to find compromise with the representative, so we will need to fight this legislation if it indeed comes out.