Saturday, August 8, 2020

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Moab, UT

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    Renters: Know your rights and responsibilities

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    The Utah Housing Coalition has released a free online version of the Utah Renter Toolkit 4th edition in order to assist and educate renters statewide of their rights and responsibilities. The online version of the Renter Toolkit is broken down into four chapters:

    For Rent sign

    Being a successful Tenant; Tenant’s Rights; Eviction Process; and Resources 

      This Toolkit is and has been used to train multiple community action agencies and staff on the eviction process and even for their partners within homeless resource centers. Because of the overall scope of the Toolkit, it can be utilized by various groups to assist with landlord/tenant rights and eviction education as a whole, according to a press release from the organization. There has been very favorable and continued feedback on the need for this education and the need for knowledgeable advocates throughout an eviction process for assistance.

      “As a landlord tenant mediator with Utah Community Action, I use the Toolkit exclusively in all trainings that I conduct.  There are some trainings that are done with our case-managed clients but additionally, all trainings are open and available to all community members. Throughout the current pandemic crisis, mediation, tenant education and advocacy has still remained intact and we have provided this as a virtual training paired with an assessment tool for tenants to show completion requirements, should that be deemed necessary for case management. We are pivoting with the changing environment as we see needs developing and increasing,” said Heather Lester.

    Within the ability to continually outreach to tenants, advocates, agencies, rental properties, landlords and alike, the consensus is that knowledge (eviction education and prevention) is key and vital to any lease /eviction matter. Working in tandem with case managers, the ability to assist and educate simultaneously seems to be the best combination. Lester added, “I have been able to educate and work with legal professionals, court personnel, attorneys and judges alike to join a united front to assist with eviction matters and to potentially remedy ongoing and future evictions through education.”

      “Now more than ever, our fellow Utah renters must have the ability to access online, easy-to-understand information provided by experts in their field. Every edition of the Toolkit has been revised by several affordable housing and legal practitioners for complete accuracy. We are thrilled to provide this Toolkit on our YouTube channel.  We will also be posting videos in Spanish in the coming weeks,” said Tara Rollins, executive director of the Utah Housing Coalition.

      UHC has provided additional resources pertaining to COVID-19, as well as additional renter legal resources from Utah Courts Self-Help and Utah Legal Services. The Utah Renter Toolkit can be downloaded in English and in Spanish from UHC’s website. If anyone would like hard copies, they can email UHC at admin@utahhousing.org. If anyone needs rental assistance, dial 211 to be connected with an agency in the area. 

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