If you do not comply with the notice you receive, the second step of the eviction process occurs. The landlord files a complaint and a summons with the court and has someone serve these papers on you.
You must reply in writing within the time stated on the summons (usually three BUSINESS days counting as the first day the day after you are served). Attached to the summons will be the complaint which explains the landlord's side of the story. You or your attorney must file a paper with the court called an answer, or you will be evicted very quickly. If you don't file your answer with the court on time, the judge will issue a default judgment in favor of your landlord, ordering the sheriff to move you out. If you file your answer and disagree with the complaint, the case will be decided later. You will have a chance to submit documents or testify before the judge decides the case. Your answer MUST be delivered to the court by the deadline; DO NOT MAIL your answer.
If you are also served with another paper that indicates that your landlord has posted a plaintiff's possession bond, the eviction process has been speeded up. You could get this notice at the same time you get the summons and complaint or anytime afterward. (Possession bonds are not used everywhere in Utah. And since changes were adopted in 2007, few eviction cases now include possession bonds.)
You must do one of the following WITHIN THREE BUSINESS DAYS after receiving this notice:
The law permits a landlord to ask for a hearing within 10 days if the landlord claims you didn’t pay the rent or other amounts due, or when the landlord claims that you or someone associated with you committed a criminal act on the premises.
STEP 3: TRIAL
If you file an Answer with the court on time and respond to the Notice of Possession Bond as explained in STEP 2 above, or the landlord alleges you didn’t pay the rent or you committed a criminal act on the premises, you will generally have a trial.
You and your landlord present witnesses and other evidence. These trials are like other non criminal cases. You have the right to a jury if you ask. However, the first hearing scheduled in eviction cases often deals only with the issue of possession (who has the right to possess the rental property). Often many such hearings are scheduled at the same time. In such cases, a judge will often only decide who has the right to be in the rental property, leaving all other issues to be decided later. If the judge believes you owe some rent, the judge will likely give you 3 days to leave the rented premises. The actual amount of rent due will not be decided until later.
STEP 4: JUDGMENT (Judge's Decision)
This usually happens in court while you and the landlord are both there. Then the decision is put on paper and signed by the judge.
In most cases, if the landlord and tenant appear in court and the judge orders the tenant to vacate the premises by a certain time, no other proceedings will take place in the eviction action as long as the tenant moves out by the judge’s deadline. If the tenant does not move out, the landlord can get the judge to order immediate restitution of the premises meaning that as soon as the tenant is served with the order, the sheriff can forcibly evict the tenant even if the tenant’s possessions are still in the rental unit.
You will usually receive a copy of the judgment or order. If the landlord wins, the judge will order you to move out. If you don't move out, the judge will order the sheriff to move you. The judgment will order you to pay damages so proceed with caution
Remember, your landlord cannot legally lock you out of your unit or move you out of your unit until the landlord has a court order (Order of Restitution). Call the police or the sheriff if the landlord tries to take such actions without a court order.
You or your attorney can appeal a judgment within ten days after the judge signs it. You will have to pay a filing fee or sign an affidavit showing you can’t pay the fee. By itself, an appeal does not stop an eviction.
HOW TO FIGHT A DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST YOU
It you fail to respond to the Summons and Complaint, or to the Notice of Possession Bond or other notice of a hearing, the court may issue a default judgment. If you want to have a default judgment undone, you must file a Motion to Set Aside and a Request for Hearing. You must have a legal reason to do so. This paper asks the judge to reopen the case. You can request the forms for these papers at Utah Legal Services. You will most likely have to file a bond (pay money into court) in order to set aside the default.
STEP 5: REMOVAL FROM THE HOME (Order of Restitution)
If you lose in court at Steps 2 or 4, you will be served with an order to vacate and remove your property - Order of Restitution – usually within three calendar days from the day the judge signs the judgment. In some cases, a judge can shorten this time so that you might be evicted immediately, as soon as the sheriff or constable comes to your rental unit with the Order.
A form to request a hearing will be attached. This is not an opportunity to fight the eviction, just to dispute the terms of the order or the way it was enforced. Requesting this hearing will not stop the order to vacate. To stop the order to vacate, go to the end of this section.
If you do not stop this order, and you do not vacate and remove your property, the sheriff or constable can enter the premises to remove you. They will make a list of what possessions you have left and put those possessions in storage. You will have thirty days to request a hearing or reclaim your property by paying for the moving costs and storage fees. If somebody else owns any of the property that is in storage, that person has thirty days to prove that he or she owns it and ask the landlord in writing to return it, or request a hearing.
If you do not claim your property or request a hearing within thirty days, your property will be sold or possibly donated to charity. They will send you notice of the sale at your last known address. If you are present at the sale, you can say in what order your property should be sold. They can sell only what is necessary to cover the costs of removal, storage, and the sale, and should release the rest of your property to you.
If you are not present, your property will be sold to pay for costs and for what the court decided you owe the landlord. If any money is left, they will send it to you if they know where to find you.
HOW TO CHALLENGE AN ORDER OF RESTITUTION (ORDER TO VACATE)
If you want to stay in your unit and you lost in court, you will have to file a Motion to Set Aside Judgment (as explained at the bottom of Step 4) a Motion to Stay, AND a Request for Hearing. These papers ask the judge to stop the eviction and reopen the case.
NOTE: IF YOU FILE A MOTION TO STAY, YOU WILL HAVE TO DEPOSIT SOME MONEY WITH THE COURT.