As a landlord in Pocatello, you need to have a solid understanding of Idaho’s security deposit laws so that you can follow them accordingly.
Security deposits form a crucial part of every lease agreement between landlords and tenants. When your resident agrees to pay the deposit, you will have more confidence in their ability to fulfill their obligations as a renter.
However, questions concerning security deposits and the law surrounding them often result in heated debates between landlords and tenants. That’s why it’s important that you know about the law of security deposits as an Idaho landlord so you can avoid conflicts regarding security deposits with your tenants.
The risk of costly disputes significantly decreases when you know the basic rules of security deposits, such as returns and deductions.
Here are the main things you should know about security deposits as a landlord in Pocatello, Idaho:
What does a security deposit cover?
A security deposit is an additional amount given by a resident to you as the landlord that isn’t included in the monthly cost of the rent. As a landlord, you’ll benefit from this financial safety net if your tenant fails to pay rent, damages your Idaho property beyond normal wear and tear, or breaches the lease agreement in any other way.
Security deposits are not only a safety mechanism for landlords. These security deposits could incentivize your tenant to pay rent on time and take better care of the property. These are both things that every landlord would like.
Idaho rental laws regarding returning a security deposit
You can refund the security deposit after the lease term ends and your tenant moves out. Under Idaho law, a landlord has to return the security deposit within a 21-day period after the tenant moves out of your rental.
However, you can reduce or extend this period of time beyond 21 days. This is an option only if you reach an agreement with your tenant. As a landlord in Idaho, you are unable to change the time period for returning security deposits by yourself.
Even if your tenant agrees to an extension, the maximum time period for you to return the deposit is up to 30 days and it must be put into the lease agreement. Passing the 30-day period would constitute a legal breach of the relevant regulations.
Your resident will get a full refund of their security deposit if the following requirements are met:
- They have paid the full rent amount due.
- Your rental property isn’t damaged beyond ordinary wear and tear.
- The tenant hasn’t broken the lease agreement in any way that would substantiate deductions.
What is the limit on security deposits in Idaho?
As a landlord in Idaho, you face no limits when setting the security deposit amount. Still, it pays to have a reasonable deposit fee. Rental properties with higher than average security deposit fees may contend with increased vacancy rates.
Landlord security deposit deductions in Idaho
As a landlord, you are able to deduct a part of the security deposit or the whole amount in case of unpaid rent or damage. Normal wear and tear do not constitute as the damage that you could deduct from the deposit to repair.
Here is a quick comparison of deductable damage and normal wear and tear:
Normal wear and tear:
- Carpet that has worn thin.
- Faded paint or wallpaper.
- Carpet that has faded or yellowed due to sun or age.
- Missing door handles.
- Cracked bathroom tiles.
- Pet urine stains.
- Torn lamp shades or window screens.
Idaho renter’s rights when you fail to return the deposit
Your tenant can argue that an item on the deduction list isn’t their responsibility. If you don’t accept the dispute, they can sue you in a small claims court.
Forfeiture of the security deposit to cover for damages
Sometimes the damages resulting from your resident’s actions may amount to more than the security deposit. In this case, you could seek damages as part of legal proceedings in addition to the resident’s forfeiture of the security deposit.
It’s wise to make sure that you have landlord’s insurance and your tenant has obtained renter’s insurance.
Can a resident use the deposit for last month’s rent?
This is impossible in Idaho. Security deposits are not rent money and a tenant cannot use it as such. The purpose of security deposits is to cover the damages and losses that you might have to deal with as a landlord.
Security rental deposit accounting regulations
A security deposit is either an asset or a liability when you file for taxes. When you first receive the security deposit, you shouldn’t regard it as rental income.
Security deposits only become income when actual deductions have been made and the whole situation is finalized. Until then, the security deposit will just sit in the escrow as your resident waits for its return.
What happens if the property changes owners?
Any change in property ownership that overlaps your lease agreement period means that the new owner becomes responsible for the security deposit. This person has to return the deposit to your former resident.
Should the change take place at the end of a tenancy, you should refund the security deposit immediately. However, this only works if there is no debt or damages.
Idaho Landlord-Tenant Laws Overview: Security Deposits in Pocatello
A security deposit is an important clause in your lease agreement. There are two major benefits to asking for a security deposit:
- You’ll gain the necessary confidence that you have financial protection against rental property damage or rent payment failures.
- Your resident is less likely to skip rent payments or damage your rental property.
The top information to remember about security deposit laws in Idaho are:
- There is no cap on the security deposit amount.
- You have to return your resident’s security deposit within a 21-day period.
- The return period can be negotiated up to 30 days but no more and needs to be in your lease.
- Your resident can’t use the security deposit to cover their month’s rent payment.
- You can deduct money for rent failure and rental property damage.
- It’s not possible to use the security deposit to cover for normal wear and tear.
You can hire a professional property management company, such as Five Star Property Management, to help you understand this information or to determine and collect a security deposit from your residents. Give us a call at (208) 234-4447 to get started with us today or for more information!