Utah Collection Laws

Bills.com | Find Learn Save

What are the common guidelines for outstanding debt in Utah?

What are the common guidelines for outstanding debt in Utah?

Get Debt Help
Choose your debt amount
IN THIS ARTICLE:
  • Utah wage garnishment rules are fairly simple.
  • It is possible for a judgment-creditor to levy a bank account in Utah.

A collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. A creditor has several legal means of collecting a debt. But before the creditor can start, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment. See the Bills.com resource Served Summons and Complaint to learn more about this process.

The court may decide to grant a judgment to the creditor. A judgment is a declaration by a court that the creditor has the legal right to demand a wage garnishment, a levy on the debtor’s bank accounts, and a lien on the debtor’s property. A creditor that is granted a judgment is called a “judgment-creditor.” Which of these tools the creditor will use depends on the circumstances. We discuss each of these remedies below.

Utah Wage Garnishment

The most common method used by judgment-creditors to enforce judgments is wage garnishment. A judgment-creditor contacts your employer and requires the employer to deduct a certain portion of your wages each pay period and send the money to the creditor.

In most states, creditors may garnish between 10% and 25% of your wages, with the percentage allowed determined by state law. Garnishment of Social Security benefits or pensions for consumer debt is not allowed under federal law, but may be allowed for child support. See the Bills.com Wage Garnishment article to learn more.

Wage garnishment is allowed under Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 64D and federal law 15 U.S.C. 1673(a). If the judgment-creditor is aware of the debtor’s place of employment, it may seek wage garnishment. Under federal law, the garnishment applies to 25% of the debtor’s net take home pay, (i.e. gross pay less statutorily mandated deductions). Garnishment can occur only after the person being garnished has received a 10-day’s notice.

Under Utah law the maximum amount of employee’s earnings that may be garnished for a consumer debt is 25%, or the federal minimum hourly wage times 30 times the number of weeks in the pay period. For child support the amount is greater. In Utah, the maximum amount garnished for child support is 50%, or the federal minimum hourly wage times 30 times the number of weeks in the pay period.

Utah Bank Account Levy

A levy means that the creditor has the right to take whatever money in a debtor’s account and apply the funds to the balance of the judgment. Again, the procedure for levying bank accounts, as well as what amount, if any, a debtor can claim as exempt from the levy, is governed by state law. Many states exempt certain amounts and certain types of funds from bank levies, so a debtor should review his or her state’s laws to find if a bank account can be levied. In some states levy is called attachment or account garnishment. The names may vary but the concept is the same.

In Utah, levy is called a writ of garnishment and is allowed under Utah Code Rule of Civil Procedure 64D. General exemptions for bankruptcy, garnishment, attachment, and execution can be found in 78B-5-505, 78B-5-506, and 78B-5-508.

Lien in Utah

A lien is an encumbrance -- a claim -- on a property. For example, if the debtor owns a home, a creditor with a judgment has the right to place a lien on the home, meaning that if the debtor sells or refinance the home, the debtor will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale or refinance. If the amount of the judgment is more than the amount of equity in your home, then the lien may prevent the debtor from selling or refinancing until the debtor can pay off the judgment.

Utah allows judgment-creditors to place a lien on property, as per Utah Code Section 78B-5-201 and Utah Code Section 78B-5-202.

If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com Liens & How to Resolve Them article to learn more.

Utah Writ of Execution

A Writ of Execution may be used to seize the judgment-debtor's non-exempt real property or personal property in the debtor's possession. See Rule of Civil Procedure 64E.

Utah Writ of Replevin

A Writ of Replevin may be used to recover a particular piece of personal property in the defendant's possession. A Writ of Replevin is permitted only in narrow circumstances following special procedures. See Rule of Civil Procedure 64B.

Statute of Limitations In Utah

Each state has its own statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations for a credit card (called an open account) is 4 years (Utah 78B-2-307-1b), a spoken contract is 4 years (Utah Title 78B-2-307-1a), a written contract is 6 years (Utah Title 78B-2-309), and either a state or federal judgment is 8 years (Utah Title 78B-2-311).

Collection agents violate the FDCPA if they file a debt collection lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitation expired (Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp. 668 F.Supp. 1480 (1987) and Basile v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 632 F. Supp. 2d 842, 845 (2009)). Unscrupulous collection agents sue in hopes the consumer will not know this rule.

Recommendation

Consult with an Utah attorney experienced in civil litigation to get precise answers to your questions about liens, levies, and garnishment in Utah.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

80 Comments
Recent Oldest
1500 characters remaining
  • M
    Mark,
    Nov, 2020

    I had a collection company contact me at my business, and then tell me I owe $2500 to the state of Utah back in 2001. I told them my birthday and address is wrong, and it’s also 2020. They still continue to contact me.

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Nov, 2020

      Mark, it is possible to still owe a debt to a state government agency after that much time. It sounds like they may be looking for someone with the same name and different birthday. State governments can usually lay claim to a state or federal tax refund that would be coming your way. If you have had refunds over the years and never had them taken, it seems likely that it is not you that they are after. Do they say waht the debt is for? That could give you added confidence that it is not you. If they keep contacting you and you are 100% sure you don't owe it, then don't stress about it. 

  • Z
    Zac,
    Dec, 2019

    My ex received a judgement against me, over a month ago and said she was going to go through ORS. When will wage garnishment begin?

    • 35x35
      Daniel,
      Dec, 2019

      I can't say for sure, but my guess is soon. Your ex knows where you work?

      You write that she said she was going to go through ORS (The Utah Office of Recovery Services). Maybe she was threatening you and hasn't done so. 

       

  • JN
    John,
    Salt Lake City, Utah,
    May, 2014
    After a judgement has been rendered, do creditors use constables to collect debt money? By that I mean, do they ever have an individual send money to the constable and make it payable to him (his office)? I have read other states do this sometimes. Is Utah one of them? There is a constable calling a friend saying she must do this. I have never heard of this practice in Utah before.
    • BA
      Bill,
      May, 2014
      My cursory research into Utah law leads me to conclude that Utah constables are process servers, and in narrow circumstances are allowed to seize and sell property. However, I do not find anything online that suggests constables are involved in collecting cash from judgment-debtors.

      Consult with a Utah lawyer who has consumer law experience to get a better answer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact Utah Legal Services or another Utah pro bono program for no-cost legal advice.
  • AA
    Allie,
    South Salt Lake, UT,
    May, 2014
    My fiance short sold a house in 2008. He stopped paying on his credit cards as well hoping that they would go away as well, which, surprise!, they didn't. We've been getting letters recently for settlements from a debt collector however it starts at the bottom because of the age of the debt he cannot be sued for it. First of all, does this mean they are no longer able to garnish his wages and/or put a lien against his business? Also,other than because he owes it,is there any benefit to paying the uncollected debt? Any help would be appreciated as I am in charge of the finances now and would like to start building his credit up to make it in par with mine.
    • BA
      Bill,
      May, 2014
      The only benefit to reaching a settlement on a collection account that is older than your state's statute of limitations is doing so will stop collection agents from contacting you to collect the debt. Paying old collection accounts that appear on your credit reports will not improve your FICO score. FICO is the credit scoring model almost all auto finance companies, credit card issuers, and all home loan lenders use.

      Our advice? Learn your state's statute of limitations. If the clock for your state's statute of limitations for written contracts expired, then send the collection agent a cease communications notice.
  • TH
    Tiffany,
    West Valley City, UT,
    Apr, 2014
    If you are married and have a judgement against both of you, do they take 25% of both wages or 25% combined? I live in utah.
    • BA
      Bill,
      Apr, 2014
      The general rule is courts treat each judgment-debtor separately. For example, one spouse may have state wage garnishment exemptions available the other doesn't.
loading...