Idaho Landlord-Tenant Law

landlords rights in idaho

Are you looking to learn about landlord-tenant law in Idaho?

The Idaho rental laws have been put in place to protect the interests of both landlords and tenants. These laws provide information on the rights and responsibilities of Idaho renters and property managers alike.

As an Idaho landlord, it’s important to understand the state’ laws. Making sense of these laws is essential for resolving disputes without having to hire an attorney. Many times rental conflicts between landlords and tenants simply result from an incomplete understanding of legal rights and responsibilities.

To save yourself from running into legal issues and having to hire an attorney, you should make sure you understand the laws that govern your Idaho rental property. Here are the legal principles of landlord-tenant relationships under Idaho law:

Landlord’s Entry

There aren’t any specific laws in Idaho that govern the landlord’s entrance into the rental property. A landlord may enter the property whenever there is a need to do so, such as for inspections or to make repairs.

However, Idaho law does require landlords to figure out a housing entry system with their tenants. The system should be detailed in the Idaho rental agreement, which means defining what constitutes proper reasons and reasonable notice to give a tenant.

Landlords in Idaho must be thorough in detailing this notice system in their written lease agreement to prevent legal conflicts with their tenant later. Without this, they may end up facing large costs for an attorney.

Rent Payments

The state of Idaho doesn’t have any state-level rent control laws restricting landlords. As a result, Idaho landlords may freely raise the monthly rent without the need to justify the particular raise amount to their tenant.

When landlords raise the rent, they need to provide written notice to their tenants 15 days in advance before the month that sees an increased rent payment. There are no statutes that would limit late rent payment fees. However, each fee must be spelled out in the Idaho rental agreement to hold legal strength.

Again, landlords should be thorough in drafting up this section of their lease agreement. You’ll want to include information about late fees as well. Failure to do so may result in legal conflict that requires the service of a qualified attorney.

Security Deposits

A security deposit is any amount a tenant gives to their landlord, in addition to their monthly rent payments. The security deposit serves as a financial safety instrument for landlords to protect themselves. They can use the fees from these security deposits to cover expenses related to rental property damage repairs and payment failures that may result from a negligent tenant.

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An Idaho landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 21 days after the lease term ends and the renter has moved out. In theory, this period can be cut shorter or extended. Although, this is only a possibility if a landlord’s tenant has agreed with it beforehand.

Even if a tenant agrees to an extension of this deposit return period, a landlord must still return the security deposit within 30 days’ time. Failing to return the deposit within these 30 days is illegal in the state of Idaho and landlords should be careful not to do so.

In Idaho, there’s no limit on the amount landlords can charge for a security deposit. A tenant is unable to use the security deposit to pay their monthly rent during their tenancy. Security deposits must be kept strictly separate from monthly rent payments. You should include a section on the security deposit in the lease agreement.

Breaking a Lease in Idaho: Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities

Many lease agreements have an early termination clause. This clause is the easiest way for tenants to legally break a lease in the state of Idaho. Should there be no such clause in the lease agreement, however, the following reasons might be sufficient as well:

  • When the landlord can’t provide habitability in the rental property anymore and fails to make necessary repairs to keep the property safe, the tenant will have the chance to legally terminate their lease.
  • Under Federal law, service members can terminate their lease thirty days before the next payment period when they have to change the station or get deployed and relocated.
  • A tenant is likely to have a proper ground for lease termination when their landlord is liable for harassment. For example, landlords that continuously ignore the entry requirements defined in the Idaho lease agreement may constitute harassment. 

If you’re unsure about the justification of terminating a lease, you may want to get an attorney to provide you with legal guidance.

Local Ordinances

Idaho landlords need to look into potential local ordinances that they have to follow in their particular area in addition to state and federal laws. Many different towns and counties in Idaho may have numerous laws in place that might differ from the state or federal laws you’re already following.

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The typical laws set housing standards for a landlord to meet to ensure the health and safety of the tenants. Sometimes, there are local ordinances that regulate nuisance and noise to raise a tenant’s quality of life. If you’re unsure about any of these local ordinances and need to get legal help, hire the services of a qualified attorney.

Fair Housing Principles

The federal Fair Housing Act ensures that everyone in the United States has equal opportunities when participating in housing market transactions without facing discrimination. As an Idaho landlord, it is against the law to discriminate against the protected classes listed in the federal Fair Housing Act.

The protected classes of the federal Fair Housing Act include religion, race, familial status, gender, disability, national origin, and color. An act of discrimination is whenever a person from the protected class receives a different treatment compared to other housing applicants.

A typical practice of discrimination of a landlord is pricing a unit differently based on the housing applicant’s identity or background. Another kind is the provision of wrong information about the availability of rental units to prospective tenants. As a landlord, you must comply with the federal Fair Housing Act at all times and avoid discrimination.

Evictions

You need to provide a solid reason to file for the eviction of a tenant in Idaho. While each case may come with unique circumstances, many of them fall into one of the following categories of Idaho’s eviction laws:

  • When your tenant violates a lease term, you can serve them with a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. Should your tenant fail to curb their behavior with the written notice period, you can move forward with an eviction to end their tenancy. This process starts after you file an Unlawful Detainer.
  • Does your tenant fail to pay rent? After the grace period (if applicable) or the first of the month, you have to serve them with a written 3-Day Notice to Pay. When that notice doesn’t bring any results, you can then proceed with a formal eviction against your tenant.
  • A written 3-Day Unconditional Quit Notice can be served to tenants that seriously damage your home.
  • Illegal activities carried out on the premises of your Idaho rental property by a tenant may result in the filing for a Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer in an expedited manner. For instance, a tenant producing or selling drugs on your property means that you won’t have to file for eviction with a notice.

If you’re unsure whether the behavior of your tenant falls into one of these categories or what kind of notice to serve in each case, you may want to use the services of a professional attorney to help you understand the Idaho law.

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Conclusion: Landlord-Tenant Laws in Idaho

As a landlord in Idaho, you benefit from understanding the landlord-tenant laws in Idaho. When a landlord knows the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, they’ll be more efficient in conflict resolution with their tenants. If you’re a first-time landlord, click here for an overview of the basic landlord rights and responsibilities in Idaho.

As with any other legal regulations, there are going to be many complex situations and gray areas in the landlord-tenant laws. We recommend speaking to a qualified attorney when you need to make sense of more complicated cases and how they pertain to Idaho landlord-tenant laws. If you do not want to use the services of an attorney, a property management company may have the expertise to help you as well. Contact Five Star for more information regarding this post or any other Idaho property management needs.

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