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With Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, and numerous tech and trade schools, Utah county is populated with young students and families looking to rent rather than buy. There is a high demand for rental properties, so if you and your family are interested in renting out a property, Utah Valley is a great place to do so.
Each city has strict rental regulations so make sure you properly research and understand all of the restrictions and requirements for rental properties. This article will focus on Provo, Utah, in terms of its rental dwelling regulations as set forth by Provo city statutes.
Understanding Rental Dwellings and When a License is Required
A rental dwelling is a portion or entire building that is designated to be rented, loaned, leased, or hired out by any amount of people for any time period longer than one month. Renting out a unit for less than a month is considered a short-term rental dwelling and has different requirements. It’s important to understand that even if you do not charge tenants rent, if the owner doesn’t live at the property, then it is still considered a rental property and requires a rental license.
Situations Where a Rental License Isn’t Required
There are a few situations in which Provo city doesn’t require a rental license. No license is required if a property is usually occupied by the owner but is temporarily rented because the owner is in the hospital, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. Licenses are also not required if an owner temporary leaves and rents out a property because of temporary job assignments, sabbaticals, or voluntary service. Lastly, an accessory apartment in an owner-occupied one family dwelling is not considered a rental property and doesn’t require a license.
How to Apply to Rent a Property
Applications for a rental license are filled out online through the Provo city website. Rental licenses are $20 for a single unit and $60 for more than one unit, such as a duplex.
Once you apply for a rental license and pay the license fee, Provo’s zoning division reviews the application and makes sure the property meets all the license requirements, such as the safety and health requirements.
Rental Dwelling Safety and Health Requirements
Rental properties have to meet certain safety and health requirements.
The property must have structural integrity; proper installation, maintenance and operational condition of all plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems; appropriate exiting; properly constructed and located stairways; appropriate bedroom egress windows, including proper sill height and size of window openings and window wells for basement rooms; minimum bedroom floor area; adequate guardrails; proper backflow prevention devices; appropriately located and operational smoke alarms; watertight and sound roofing systems; fire-rated separation between dwelling units; and properly placed street addressing. There are also parking requirements for any rental dwelling.
If you apply for a rental license and are denied because the property doesn’t meet the safety and health regulations, Provo city will provide you a list of corrections to bring your property into compliance. Once those are corrected, you can reapply for a rental license.
Rental Licenses Length and Restrictions
All rental licenses expire on July 31 of each year, but you can renew for as long as you want and as long as the property meets all the rental regulations. Renewal notices are typically mailed out the end of July.
Licenses are not transferable, so if you end up moving or selling the property, you have to contact the business license official within thirty days after selling the property, and the new owner has to apply for their own rental license if they also wish to rent out the property.
Another option for rental income is to create an accessory apartment in your home. Please keep in mind that these are closely regulated and require city approval and adherence to safety and parking guidelines. Please check with your city planning office to learn their specific guidelines.
Renting, especially in Utah County and Provo in particular, can be a great investment opportunity. Make sure you understand all that is required so you and your tenants can enjoy the experience of renting.
—Stephanie Bahr Bentley