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Salt Lake program requires landlords to purchase business license

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Oct. 13, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.

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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- Berdje Bezdjian is getting this vacant condo ready for a new renter.

He owns and manages all 10 units on his property in South Salt Lake. As a property owner there, he participates in the Good Landlord program, which began in 2007. As part of the program, Bezdjian is required to complete an eight- hour training course every three years.

"They'll go over some good practices for landlords, things like background and credit checks," Bezdjian said. "When perspective tenants know that I'm a member of the good landlord program, and I do background and credit checks on tenants that are coming in, that kind of eases their concerns about the complex."

Good Landlord Program

Business license base fee: $110
Per unit fee: $342
Program participant fee: $20


  • Must be completed no later than 6 months after application into the program, with a four hour refresher course every three years.
  • Landlords who have one or two units will have a grace period until March 1, 2012, to get into code compliance, but must be licensed by Sept. 1, 2011.
  • Sign up at or (801) 487-5619

Many metropolitan cities in Utah offer a similar program, including Ogden, Provo and West Valley. Salt Lake City has one too, which will now affect property owners like Bezdjian, who owns two duplexes there. If you own a rental unit in Salt Lake City, changes are in store that you may not have heard about. And it'll end up costing you money.

Since 2009, Salt Lake City has required owners of three or more properties to get a business license. But on Sept. 1, a new rule expanded that requirement to people with only one or two units. All property owners will have to get a business license for $110. In addition, they'll pay $342 per unit. But participation in the program, which includes training, will discount that per unit fee to $20. The city said the goal is to teach people how to be good landlords.

Before September, the program only applied to people who owned three or more units. Now, it's all property owners.

"I was expecting it," said Bezdjian. "I've been in South Salt Lake for two or three years and I was expecting that Salt Lake would follow suit."

"But more importantly, is that they have a safe and sanitary unit that can be rented to somebody. When that happens, the cost to the community is far less," said Frank Gray, director of Community and Economic Development.

Bezdjian supports the program, which seems to be catching on with other cities.

"I think that's the trend. I think that's the direction they're going with this," he said.

The city is giving a 6-month grace period to property owners because the new rule involving single and double family homes is so new. People who don't comply will have to pay a fee and could face misdemeanor criminal charges.

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Sandra Yi


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