Utah Real Estate Laws | Property Laws for the state of Utah | Water Law | Uniform Land Sales
Summary of Utah laws regarding real estate transactions.Serving Salt Lake City, Park City to Provo.

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Utah State Laws


Summary of Utah Laws Regarding Real Estate Transactions


Marketable Record Title Act (UCA 57-9)

This law allows property owners to clear title defects which are older than 40 years. It stipulates the following:

Any person having the legal capacity to own land in this state, who has an unbroken chain of title of record to any interest in land for forty years or more, shall be deemed to have a marketable record title to such interest…. A person shall be deemed to have such an unbroken chain of title when the official public records disclose a conveyance or other title transaction, of record not less than forty years at the time the marketability is to be determined, which said conveyance or other title transaction purports to create such interest….

 Utah Exemption Act (Homestead Act) (UCA 78-23

The purpose of the Utah Exemption Act is to protect a portion of the home owner’s equity in the event of a forced foreclosure or bankruptcy. It shields the equity in the property from certain types of creditors such as medical bills and business debts. The act provides for an exemption of $20,000 for the head of the household and $20,000 for the spouse.

 Utah Mechanic’s Liens (UCA 38-1)

Mechanic’s liens are claims for work performed on property or materials integrated into property. Anyone who has integrated labor or materials into real property may institute a claim if they have not been compensated for their work. The claim must be filed in the county where the property is located.

 Utah Uniform Land Sales Practices Act (UCA 57-11)

This act specifies that all subdivision projects must either register with the Utah Real Estate Division or be exempt. Individuals hired to sell land in a subdivision must possess a valid Utah real estate license.

 Utah Water Law

Utah follows the law of Prior Appropriation or Statutory Appropriation for the use and distribution of Water. Beginning in 1847 when the pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley, the appropriation of Water rights occurred by the land owner merely diverting and applying Water for a beneficial use. After obtaining statehood in 1896, the state legislature decreed all water above or under the ground, to be public water. Later in 1903 water rights above the ground could be obtained only by filing an application with the State Engineer. water rights are considered real property and transfer by deed unless specified otherwise within the deed instrument.

                Today water rights can be sought through application to the State Engineer at the Division of Water Rights. Decisions of the Division of Water Rights may be overturned by civil suit in the District Court. The Division maintains a data base of water rights by file number, applicant’s name, and the location of the water right. In order to drill a well, a license must be obtained with the Division of Water Rights. A well log as well as a record of all wells drilled must be on file.

                Water rights can be lost through abandonment or non-use for a period of five years. Water shares are considered personal property. The shares are documented by water certificates issued from a mutual water company or a canal company.



This summary is not a replacement for anyone needing legal counsel. We recommend that you seek legal counsel from a licensed Utah Bar attorney.



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Utah Real Estate Laws | Property Laws for the state of Utah | Water Law | Uniform Land Sales

Summary of Utah laws regarding real estate transactions. Serving Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City to Provo.

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