RELATIVELY NEW rental units with areas example pictured here is a hole left in the which remain unfinished for lengthy periods ceiling by the contractor - apparently an of time were noted as one of the sore spots in unfinished light fixture, the tenant-landlord relationships. An Third in Series Existing Tenant-Landlord Laws Termed Inadequate Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles dealing with problems between apartment owners and renters. This one lists some of the requirements that would be imposed on both sides if a proposed new law is acted upon favorable during the next session of the Utah Legislature. By RON BARKER One of the main compalints of renters groups in Utah has been the inadequacy of existing law covering the landlord-tenant relationship. A proposed solution to this problem is the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act which will be introduced in the next session of the State Legislature. The act seeks to cover responsibilities of both landlords and tenants to avoid the charge that either party in the age-old relationship is being favored. Responsible members of both camps generally acknowledge abuses on both sides. The purpoe of the act, according to the preamble, is "to simplify, clarify, modernize and revise the law governing the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlord and tenant." Also, the proposed legislation would "encourage landlord and tenant to maintain the improve the quality and availability of housing," according to its sponsors. Writers of Bill Listed The bill was drafted by the Landlord Tenant Legislation Committee, consisting of Jody F. Chidester, Utah Housing Coalition; Dee Herbert, Price Community Action Program and vice chairman of the Utah Housing Coalition; Ruth Petajan, attorney for Legal Services; Donna Rielly, Salt Lake County Tenant's Organization, and Gayson Wright, president of the Apartment House Association of Utah. According to the Utah Housing Coalition, the act would set guidelines for both the landlord nad the tenant applying to housing units and their care. It is described as a neutral bill, one that protects both parties from unfair treatment. Remedies are established for abuses by both parties. Specifically, the act demands that both the landlord and the tenant maintain a rental unit in good condition. The landlord would be responsible for maintaining a safe, sanitary, habitable rental bidding. The tenant would be required to keep his portion of the unit clean, safe and reasonably well maintained. Proviiions Outlined The tenant would not be bound by a contract containing provisions prohibited by the act, such as having the tenant waive legal rights and due process in the event he became delinquent a few days in his rent. Also, a landlord would be required to give notice prior to entering an apartment. Tenants could recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any non-compliance by the landlord with the rental agreement. Tenants also could deduct from the rent costs for necessary repairs where the rental agreement has been violated and the landlord has been notified. Where essential services are not supplied by the landlord, the tenant could recover the cost of substitute housing. Tenants could not be evicted for complaints made to the landlord or to the building or health departments, nor could they be evicted for joining a tenants union. On the other side of the coin, the tenant would be required under penalty of law to maintain the upkeep of the premises. The landlord would be allowed to make rules and regulations which will be enforceable against the tenant. A landlord could bring action for possession of the rental unit if the violation of applicable buliding or housing code rules was cuased primarily by an irresponsible tenant. Written Notices If the tenant fails to comply with any part of the agreement between them, the landlord could terminate the rental agreement by notice of not less than 30 days. If the tenant fails to maintain or repair the rental unit within 14 days of a wirtten notice of any existing defect, the landlord may enter and cause the work to be done, and then bill the tenant. A tenant would be required to give a landlord 60 days notice before moving. Among the organizations and individuals endorsing the proposed legislation are Governor Calvin L. Rampton, the League of Women Voters of Salt Lake, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Utah Housing Coalition, and the Utah Public Health Association. Bill Praised ' Florence Smith, president of the Utah County Renters Association, commented that the law would benefit everyone, the landlords and the tenants, by more clearly defining duties and responsibilities on both sides. "There are few problems created by 80 per cent of the landlords and 80 per cent of the tenants," she said. "But the troubles caused by the other 20 per cent on both sides makes legislation necessary."