Dear Attorney: My tenant is asking to change the locks because they are a victim of domestic violence. What should I do?
Answer: First, you will always want to show compassion and make sure you are doing what you can to keep all of your tenants safe.
If any tenant feels their safety is in jeopardy, they should call the police and seek help.
Second, under Utah law, victims of domestic violence have certain protections when dealing with leases. They can choose to either:
(1) Have the landlord change the locks to exclude the perpetrator, or
(2) Terminate the lease (only as to the victim) by paying 45 days of rent.
When tenant is asking to change locks what happens?
Either way, the victim tenant should (1) clearly tell the landlord what they are requesting, (2) provide documentation (either a police report or protective order) showing they are a victim of domestic violence, and (3) pay for the costs of what they have decided (either pay for the locks to be changed or pay 45 days of rent).
If the locks are changed, the perpetrator tenant cannot enter the property but they remain liable for paying rent as it comes due.
We recommend that you keep copies of everything to document your file.