Senate tables eviction bill for treating U too favorably

By Jed Layton, Asst. News Editor

Utah politicians confuse Barb Remsburg.

Last week the Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would allow the U to evict students quicker. On Friday, however, a Senate committee opposed the bill, preventing it from moving to the Senate floor for a vote.

“I was surprised it did not go through because it passed in the House with no opposition,” said Remsburg, director of Housing and Residential Education at the U. “For it not to come out of committee was frustrating.”

House Bill 238 would have changed the Utah eviction laws, allowing the U to process evictions faster than the six weeks currently required.

Four senators on the Senate Education Committee voted against pushing the bill through because it treated the U too favorably, said Sen. Brent Goodfellow, D-West Valley City.

Remsburg said the U requires different circumstances and laws than private landlords because it deals with unusual circumstances.

“Housing on the U is a unique situation with a unique community,” she said. “It required a unique process to handle evictions.”

Goodfellow said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Kory Holdaway R-Taylorsville, could revise the bill and submit it again to the committee.

Holdaway said he was unsure whether or not he would revise the bill. He said dropping the bill completely is also an option.

Any changes to the bill would likely come in the form of giving private business owners the same provisions given to the U, said Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City.

“If private landlords were able to evict non-paying tenants out just as fast, then I would be fine with presenting it to the Senate,” Jenkins said.

Remsburg said she did not think it would be a good idea to have a bill cover both U housing and private housing.

“It doesn’t make sense to make one bill that solves separate situations,” she said. “But I have no objection to private landlords bringing forward their own bill that would make sense for them.”

Russell Manwright rents out several apartments on 1200 East. He said he has dealt with two evictions in the past 10 years. He said the process, which takes about six weeks, is lengthy and tiring but is not worth passing new legislation to change.

“As far as I can tell, the existing law treats landlords and tenants equally,” he said. “Any change to that would give us the upper hand. It would be nice, but not right.”

T.J. Young, a junior in pre-law, lives off campus. He said the way the bill is now, or if it affected off-campus housing as well, would not be fair to students.

“The law exists the way it is for a reason,” he said. “If you give too much power they will start evicting people that shouldn’t be.”

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